I had (what I believe was) an unusually easy recovery from labor. Within 2 days, I was taking short walks around the neighborhood with E in the baby carrier, and within a week, I extended the walks to about 40 minutes. I felt immensely grateful and honestly, very surprised. You hear the stories about women being in bed for at least a week, unable to walk or really do anything on their own. Perhaps it was the rush of adrenaline from the hormones, but I felt pretty amazing, both physically and emotionally very quickly post birth. Those of you who kept up with my pregnancy journey can understand how much of a relief this was. Pregnancy was hard for me. I was allll over the place emotionally, so to FINALLY feel normal and like myself again, even just a few days postpartum, was the biggest breath of fresh air.
I promised I’d share my recovery plan week-by-week, so let’s get down to it.
Like I said, I was up moving around and going on short walks within a couple days. I remember being wheeled out of the hospital 24 hours after giving birth and thinking, “I really don’t need this wheelchair.” I didn’t say anything to the nurse or patient transporter just because protocol is protocol, but I honestly could have walked to the car by myself. Also, in full disclosure, I did have a second-degree tear, and a few stitches, but I never actually felt anything painful in that regard after birth. Tears really are not as bas as people make them out to be or what you think they might be. Like I said, I never felt it. I would describe the discomfort postpartum more as just, well, discomfort.
I gauged my activity levels the first week by the amount of lochia my body produced. One day I went for a 45 minute walk, and I knew it was too much when I was bleeding heavier than normal afterward. Again, not painful, just crampy, and I knew I needed to back off a little bit. During pregnancy, you become pretty self aware of when you’ve overdone it, and postpartum is very similar in that regard. You are the best determiner for your activity level. Your body will let you know, I promise.
My goal going into what I called “Week 0” in my training log was simply to start with short walks (20-30 minutes), and to also begin a core and pelvic “re”-strengthening program. I never really understood before I gave birth what people meant by “your core and pelvic area are totally wrecked after you have a baby,” but trust me, I found out veryyyy quickly what they meant. Lol. Basically, you have all this weight in the front of your body that steadily increases over 9 months, and then all of a sudden the majority of it disappears, so you’re left with most likely a tilted pelvis, rotated sacrum, and nonexistent abdominal muscles. Woof. Trying to run with all that jacked up is a terrible idea. Don’t do it. Don’t think you’re “different” and can just power through it. I maintained a pretty intense strength-training regimen up until the day I delivered Emerson, and I was STILL jacked up in the pelvic/core region. So, if there’s anything I can stress in this post, it’s to tackle that area first and foremost. And, be very careful at the same time.
|2/2/2016||Tues||baby is born! Emerson Ruth Taylor, 5:20am; 7lb 4oz|
|2/4/2016||Thurs||15 min very easy slow walk with Emerson in stroller|
|2/5/2016||Friday||20 min easy walk with Emerson in stroller|
|2/6/2016||Sat||25 minute easy walk (1 mile loop) with Emerson in baby carrier. feeling better each day!|
|2/7/2016||Sun||began core/pelvic floor stabilization exercises. kegels–5×5 seconds each lying on back. pelvic tilts on back–3×10 reps holding 10 seconds each rep. sahrmann ab #1–5 reps on each leg. 40 min walk at the park with Emerson in the baby carrier. walked to and from church too. prob overdid it today with the walking.|
Here are the pelvic/core exercises I focused on. I built my plan based on a variety of recommendations and sources, including Alysia Montano’s postpartum plan, to a physical therapist friend of mine, to even pinterest. I did these daily for the first 3 weeks postpartum, and then moved to every other day, adding in more difficult moves once these got easy. I am currently 8 weeks postpartum and still doing them every other day (you may find you need to keep doing them daily even up to 6 weeks or longer. Figure out what you need.) Whatever you do, DO NOT NEGLECT THIS. Your body and running will thank you immensely!
Pelvic Tilts against a wall (10-20 total. holding for 5 seconds each)
Pelvic tilts on all fours–similar to cat cow in yoga (begin with 10, gradually build to 30 total, holding for 5 seconds each)
Sahrmann #1 (this is best explained on this link
I remember my first postpartum Kegel. I could barely hold it for 5 seconds! Then, it got easier and easier, until one day I did probably 50 reps, and realized I was probably ready to graduate to something more challenging.
All in all, the first week was primarily about 1. Bringing our baybay home, and understanding how to raise a newborn/taking in all the newness of a sweet little one. And 2. Starting to begin the recovery process for my body. Nothing crazy, just a little commitment each day (probably 1 hour total with walking and strength training). Honestly not bad, and with how much an infant sleeps, you’ll find it easy to fit it in, I think.
I finished up this week feeling excited, surprised (at how great I felt), and ready to increase my walking and other activities the next week! Stay tuned!