How to Know When You Need to Change Your Strategy Postpartum

How do you know when you need to change your strategy postpartum?

While there's a lot to be gained by working with a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist, as well as a certified Pre/Postnatal trainer, there ARE some things you can watch for yourself.

That whole, "listen to your body" thing - well, it's kinda (incredibly) confusing when you don't know WHAT you're supposed to be listening for.

1. Pain: Pay attention not only WHILE you're doing the movements, but pay attention to pain the rest of that day and even into the next day. Sore muscles because you worked them is one thing, pain is different - you'll know the difference.

2. Peeing: This one refers to loss of control of either bladder or bowels, at any point in the day - not just while doing the movement. So while you may not leak DURING squats, are you losing control of your bladder (or bowels) more than normal the rest of the day, or into the next few days?

3. Prolapse: If you haven't been diagnosed with prolapse and are wondering what this is, it may feel like a heavy sensation in your vagina like something is out of place or causing downward pressure. Or, it may feel like you need to have a bowel movement even when you don't. This is one I was acutely aware of when my daughter was still in the front carrier - I didn't feel anything WHILE walking with her, but later that day or the next day I would have an obvious heavy feeling, letting me know it was either time to switch her to the back, or shorten our walks.

4. Pressure: Are you creating excess pressure in your abdomen while doing movements? This one can be assessed either visually to check for coning, which looks like a little mountain ridge protruding down the center of your abdomen - usually most obvious at the belly button. Have someone watch, or video yourself. The second way to assess this one is with your fingers, checking your diastasis and how it's responding (another video for another day!) during the movement.

Lastly - not everything is going to give you feedback when pregnant and postpartum, which is why I think it’s SO important to work with a Pelvic Health Physio and a *certified* Prenatal/Postpartum coach.

So, where do we go from here?!

Join the newsletter to be sure not to miss future posts on HOW to change your strategy, PLUS I'm creating posts for individual movements starting with box jumps. Is there a movement you're wondering how to modify? POST IT BELOW and I'll do a video series based on your request!

That feeling when "trusting the process" delivers your reward

You know when you make a decision and at the time it really sucks because it means giving up something you really want right that moment (instant gratification) in exchange for something way down the road, and even though you know the trade off will greatly trump all those little "need right now" moments it's still so hard to trust the process at the time? And every time you have to pass on that want, over and over, you question, "is it worth it?".

But then the day comes where your patience and months (perhaps years) of tough decision making rewards you. This applies to so many things in life. Today I got one of those long-awaited rewards after months of having to trust the process.

I am so excited that 8 months of trusting the process has led me to this moment. Eight months ago I knew I needed to change my mindset on workouts, based on my knowledge of pelvic floor health and diastasis recti. I was doing Crossfit 5x/week, and am, as my husband describes me "insanely competitive". The competitive streak is directed against myself - I'm not trying to beat anyone else in the gym, just myself, always wanting to learn new skills or improve my previous weights or sets. While the gym is a great place to unleash this, it is not a good combo when pregnant and long term health and fitness well into my senior years is the goal.

So I held back. I changed gyms. My pregnancy workouts felt more like my old warm ups did, but I trusted the process. Mentally it sucked a lot of days, trying to match logical brain to emotion-driven brain.

I cried numerous times. I felt like I'd lost a piece of my identity. I've identified as an athlete for years, and as a trainer since changing careers a few years ago. And now I hadn't run in months. Hadn't touched a barbell in as many. My workouts involved lots of seated isolated muscle exercises. I missed my old coaches, and the noon crew that pushed me (and heckled me) and provided me a space to mentally reset each day as well as provided a physical outlet.

I had melt downs when I wondered if I'd ever be able to do what I could pre-pregnancy again. But again, I committed to trusting the process. Some days I hated the process. I had to remind myself:  isn't being able to do 70% of what I could pre-pregnancy for the rest of my life way better than being able to do 100% of what I could pre-pregnancy but only for 2-5 years because of the damage and beating I'd do to myself by pushing for that extra 30%, just to "prove that I could"?

The smile on my face today is after a visit to my pelvic floor physio, where I received that long term reward of being smart these past 8 months instead of just going for it because I could day after day at the gym. I don't have any pelvic organ prolapse and my ab separation is in a good place for only 6 weeks postpartum and the tone feels like it should at this point. This might sound tiny to you, but the alternatives I hear way too many women talking about post partum because they just didn't know how to care for their pregnant and/or postpartum bodies makes me incredibly happy to be where I am right now.

This is just the first of a mini-series of blogs I'll be releasing, so be sure to check back if any of the below apply to you:

  • You like nerding out about body stuff.
  • You're an athlete who "leaks" (regardless of if you've had kids or not) - this was me in University when doing large amounts of bounding and plyometric workouts as a middle-distance sprinter. I just didn't know better.
  • You're currently pregnant.
  • You plan on being pregnant at any point in your life.
  • You've had kids.
  • You have someone in your life who fits the above and you want to help educate them about how to better care for their body.

Stay tuned:)