In that first postpartum month, there are a lot of new things and changes happening. Most importantly, figuring out life with a new baby. But it’s also important to not neglect yourself and your recovery, mom. Because you too went through a lot and are becoming a new person.
Hi new moms! I’m Colleen Wood, a prenatal and postpartum trainer in Conshohocken. I want you to know that you are a priority too. While it is super important to spend time resting and bonding with baby, here are some other things you should be doing in that first month:
1 // Diaphragmatic Breathing
The great thing about this is it can be done anywhere, anytime, with or without baby. It’s actually great to practice this in many positions… seated, lying down, standing, walking. This breath practice should be started up as soon as possible after delivery.
How to do it? As you inhale, think about filling your belly with air, and letting your ribcage expand in all directions. Also, your pelvic floor should relax or slightly lower (this may be hard to feel initially but keep practicing!).
Exhale like you are blowing out a candle, zipping up your midline from pubic bone to rib cage, and feel your pelvic floor contract or slightly lift.
Aim to practice this for 5-10 breaths every day. I would recommend start lying on your back, then move to seated, then standing, then try it on all fours.
There are a lot of components to think about here, so I find it helps to break it down and focus on one piece at a time before putting it all together.
What not to do? Try to not breathe high into your chest (think chest expands and shoulder rise), and suck in your belly. This is the opposite of what we are trying to do, and can put extra pressure on your pelvic floor.
2 // Walk
After a few days, or whatever bed rest you need, it’s time to get up and get moving. But be sure to really ease into it. Walking will help your body recover after birth, and can help reduce the chance of blood clots.
How to do it? Just walking around the house in the first week might be enough for you. And then after the 1st week, try to venture outside for a 10-15 minute casual walk – make sure you can hold a conversation as you walk. Gradually increase the length of your walks if your body feels good and is responding well.
What to look out for? If you are experiencing low back pain, heaviness in your pelvic floor, or increased vaginal bleeding after these walks, you may have overdone it so just scale back for a few days.
3 // Mobility Movements
Mobility movements are great because they can be done anywhere with no (or very minimal) equipment. AND they should help you feel better and take away any aches and pains. Mobility movements can be started in the first week. Just be gentle with the movements and gradually increase ranges of motion.
How to do it? Pick 3-5 movements to practice daily. Practice each one for about 1-2 minutes. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes of your day! Bonus, get my free Mobility exercise download to help you get started.
Don’t forget to invest in yourself and your recovery, mama! I also offer postpartum virtual consultations that are great for new moms around 2-12 weeks postpartum.