Postpartum Fitness – Getting Active After a Sedentary Pregnancy

39 weeks pregnant

Some women are lucky enough to have the ability to stay active throughout their pregnancy. When I was pregnant with my first, I was sure I was going to be one of those lucky few. I went into that pregnancy super fit, and continued to work out daily as soon as my first trimester morning sickness subsided.

When preterm labor landed me on bedrest at 23 weeks (and for the duration of the pregnancy), I didn’t know what to do. I became depressed (for all of the reasons), and my body became weak and sore. It took me about a year to regain strength and feel fit and strong again.

hospitalized, on magnesium, with #1

My next three pregnancies did not have complications for the babies, thank goodness. But with each subsequent pregnancy my morning sickness became worse and lasted longer, and the pains that can come with pregnancy became more debilitating, despite my therapist recommended SI belt and my must-have pregnancy support shorts that I literally could not walk without (that’s them in the picture below!). The pelvic girdle pain/ symphysis pubis dysfunction became so severe in my fourth pregnancy that I had to go on disability. I literally could not walk a block to take my kids to the park. It was miserable. For anyone going through the same thing right now, I’m so sorry. Hang in there.

Getting in shape postpartum has been harder and harder with each pregnancy. I’m now six months postpartum with #4. It took me about 4 weeks accomplish a simple walk outside, with support garments and around the clock ibuprofen. Around six weeks I was able to walk without support or constant ibuprofen, but I still got pretty sore. I believe around 10 weeks or so I started pelvic floor physical therapy and started going back to the chiropractor (I went to both during pregnancy as well) – I highly recommend both. Around that time I also started my favorite postpartum workouts, Beachbody’s Barre Blend. I’ve been doing on demand workouts for about 10 years, and have done many programs. Barre Blend is my absolute favorite for gentle but effective strengthening and toning (and for improving the dreaded postpartum pancake butt). I’ve gradually added in more weights and cardio (nothing crazy yet), but I still do Barre Blend about three times per week. Here are my results so far.

I still have quite a ways to go! But, I am 95% pain free, which is amazing after months of constant pain. I’m also breastfeeding (hello asymmetric breasts!), which makes me hold on to fat for the first year or so, mostly in the belly and thighs (I get asked if I’m pregnant regularly). I’m trying to be patient. The first year postpartum is so hard.

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