Matters of the body pre and post baby….
Nell McAndrew was criticised last week for exercising during her pregnancy as she launched her most recent fitness video and I really cannot fathom out why. The benefits of exercise in pregnancy are well known; as well as the natural high you get from the endorphins, it helps blood flow around the body, can combat the postural problems that come with pregnancy and can provide quicker labour times. As a fitness fanatic I had to continue exercising during my pregnancy for my sanity rather than anything else so I swam, ran and cross trained throughout the 7 1/2 months. The medical profession say it’s not the time to start up something new but you can maintain your fitness, so I applaud Nell for raising awareness by doing this.
What I didn’t think about perhaps rather naively, was the impact of my pregnancy on my body post birth and it’ll be interesting to see how Nell copes after her baby arrives. Apparently if you are sporty in pregnancy you should get your body back quicker but I’ve found that getting it back has been the hardest challenge of all. I feel more unfit now than I ever have and 17 weeks in I am still struggling with the impact of the relaxin in my body. I really didn’t notice the effects of this hormone in my pregnancy at all but now, I’m a wobbly mess. The lordosis posture (lower spine curve that women have in pregnancy) has remained and is now coupled with an upper back hunch due to feeding and lifting and my pelvis feels all wobbly as the bump holding it together has gone. In addition, I just don’t quite feel 100% . My physio last night told me I don’t have a 5th gear and he’s right – all my vitamins and antibodies are going into my baby so I have depleted reserves and constantly feel run down.
So – what to do to get the va va voom back? I’ve found overall (probably because people are afraid of getting sued) that there is a lack of guidance on how or what to do after birth – especially if you are relatively sporty. The dvd’s/books stay on the simplistic side to exercise so whilst the base level core work is good for the first few weeks after a while you need something more challenging. I started exercise at 4 weeks with some core work on a mat between feeds and mini-jogettes where I could. Now at 17 weeks I am now back running 3 times a week at least (about 40mins to 1 hr) and I do my increasingly tough core exercises every day so overall I can’t complain, I’m back in my skinny skinny jeans and I’ve lost 90% of the baby weight. That said, this all varies depending on how I feel, sometimes my pelvis is aching too much to run and at other times it’s just tough to find the time on top of feeding and nappy changing. That said, we are all different and as with all matters of parenthood, I’ll be interested to see how someone else does it – Nell… over to you!