exercise after birth

5 "Scary" Myths About Prenatal Fitness

In honor of Halloween, we’ve put together our top 5 “scary” myths that continue to persist in the pre/postnatal fitness world.

Have you heard any of these before?

 
Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 10.43.30 PM.png
 

You should keep your heart rate under 140BPM’s.

This was a guideline that was recommended in the past but has since been eliminated by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG). Everyone’s level of fitness and resting heart rate is different before pregnancy which means giving a “one size fits all” number doesn’t make sense. We now use “perceived level of exertion” or the “talk test”. Basically if you feel like you are pushing too hard and gasping for air, it’s a sign to slow down.

It’s dangerous to lift heavy weights.

This is another guideline that was given to keep the heart rate from going above 140bpm’s. Lifting weights spikes your blood pressure for a short period of time, but so does stress, running to catch a cab, chasing toddlers, and living life! :) You want to lift weights in order to maintain and build muscle tone. Don’t forget you have a newborn that you are going to be lifting and holding on the way. It’s wise to build up that strength now and not once you are dealing with sleep deprivation and fatigue.

Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 10.46.25 PM.png

You can continue doing whatever workouts you did before pregnancy.

This one is the scariest myth of all! While many of your pre-pregnancy workouts are indeed safe for the baby, they aren’t necessarily safe for your core and pelvic floor. It’s important to train differently and with a lot more intention during pregnancy in order to ensure a complete postpartum recovery. (Apply that Pump & Kegel!!) Many people that continue their pre-pregnancy routine throughout pregnancy end up doing damage to their bodies (Diastsis Recti and pelvic floor problems) that can cause pain or discomfort for the rest of their lives.

Crunches are safe before you start to “show”.

Fine for the baby, yes. Safe for your body? Probably not. We recognize that every body type is different and some women continue crunching long into their 2nd trimester without any problems, but they are lucky. Bottom line, the more you strengthen your Rectus Abdominis (6-pack) and Obliques, the more strain you are going to place on your linea alba as your belly starts to expand. We recommend you step away from your traditional crunches and oblique work and begin focusing on strengthening your Transverse Abdominis (TVA) as soon as you know you are pregnant.

Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 10.48.58 PM.png

You can go back to your regular workout classes when you are cleared at 6-weeks.

You had an easy pregnancy and amazing delivery. You exercised up until the day you delivered, you feel great and just got clearance from your care provider (sometimes as early as 2 weeks) that it is safe to go back to your pre-pregnacny workouts. Doing too much too soon can cause serious lasting damage. Your core and pelvic floor has been under a tremendous amount of strain for many months. It’s going to take more than 6 weeks to heal. In fact, your first 12 weeks postpartum are considered your “critical healing period”. That’s when you body is doing all the work to bring your linea alba back together and restore strength and function to your pelvic floor. It’s great that you feel amazing, but if you misread that as “healed” and head out for a run and then do 100 crunches, you may end up giving yourself a Diastasis Recti or pelvic organ prolapse. (that’s pretty scary). Honor what your body has just been through and allow it to rest and heal. That intense sweat sesh will still be there when you are really ready for it a few more weeks from now.


Questions about pre or postnatal exercise? Ask us in class! We love questions and want to make sure you are moving through your pregnancy and recovery with 100% confidence.

Debunking Exercise Myths: Returning to Exercise Post Pregnancy

The Myth: It's safe to return to your pre pregnancy workout as soon as you get the "green light" from your care provider.

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 8.46.46 PM.png

The FPC Answer: Most care providers will give you the green light at around 6 weeks to resume exercise.  But what does that mean?

Did you know that the first 12 weeks post birth are known as the "critical healing period"?  (Read 12...not 6).  Many women return to their favorite workouts too soon and too hard and put themselves at risk of developing complications.  Even if you feel amazing, the exercise choices you make during those initial weeks can effect your body for the rest of your life.  We could probably write you a book on the topic, but you're busy so here are some important bullet points instead: 

Before returning to exercise post birth:

  • It takes 4 months after you're done breastfeeding for your body to stop producing the hormone relaxin.  As long as relaxin is present, the connective tissue between your rectus abdominis (6-pack abs) is still vulnerable.  Thats why we continue to offer safe "core" alternatives for all our newly postpartum moms.  

 

  • No matter how good that new mom, "yoga teacher", "fitfluencer" looks on instagram, when she tells you it's safe to do crunches at 3 weeks postpartum, it's important to remember that traditional abdominal work like crunches, twists, planks, etc. are absolutely out of the question during those first 12 weeks.  

 

  • If you still have ab separation at 12 weeks, you need to continue to modify your workout and also be working with a postnatal specialist that can help you heal.  

 

  • You can't trust YouTube or even an instructor with a general pre/postnatal certification to do a Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation) assessment.  They have a very limited knowledge of the topic and they may "assess" that you are fine when in fact, you are not.  Or tell you that a DR is present when they don't understand the true definition of what it means to heal it.  Find a specialist. Come see us at FPC, or see a pelvic floor therapist for a proper diagnosis.  

 

  • Don't go for a run just yet!  Regardless of the type of birth you had, vaginal or Cesarian, you have to continue to train with your pelvic floor in mind.  Damage to the pelvic floor doesn't usually come from the actual birth.  It comes from the months of weight and pressure on those muscles leading up to the big event.  After birth, those muscles need time to rest and recover.  If we return to high impact movements right away, you are putting your pelvic floor at risk of developing a prolapse.  

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to postpartum fitness.  FPC is passionate about educating every woman that walks through our door on how to make a complete recovery post birth.  If you are postpartum and looking to get back into fitness, join us at the studio!  

Postpartum Rehab and/or Pump & Kegel are the 2 best places to start! Check our schedule for times!