5 Things They Don’t Tell You About Post-Natal Recovery & Fitness

Congratulations on your new baby!

Now you’re feeling ready to feel more energized and lose a bit of that post-pregnancy weight.

But here are five things you may not know…

Too Much Sitting

During the breast feeding phase, you will be sitting a lot.

Sitting is the new smoking and when you sit too much, you are affecting your posture, your metabolism slows down and your muscles are not being properly used.

This affects your hips and causes it to be tight and tense. When you sit, you are contracting your body into a 90° angle. Your hip flexors will be contracted and reduce the mobility in your hip joints.

Your muscles work in tandem, if the front muscle is contracting, the one at the back is stretching.

So if the front of your hips is tight and over-worked, your back muscles (hamstring) will not be able to contract properly. This is why a lot of women find it hard to tone up their thighs and butt while still breastfeeding.

Wearing High Heels

I know, the horror! Unfortunately, if pre-pregnancy you wear a lot of high heels, this throws your body off balance and you tend to put a lot of pressure on the ball of your feet.

Your body tries to compensate this unnatural body posture. When wearing high heels, your calf muscles shorten and your quads (front thigh muscles) bear a lot of weight and tension.

Your hips, back and calf muscles become tense from all this pressure.

Your hamstring will feel loose and flaccid. If your hamstring is not being used, your buttocks will not get the appropriate exercises.

Wearing high heels also affects your back. Whilst of a lot people say, “…but I am not wearing heels during my pregnancy”. I am not saying you are but you were probably wearing heels before your baby days.

I love my 4 inch heels (since I am 5’2, I need all the help I can get).  Your prior body behaviours have conditioned your body to behave in a certain way and if you want to re-train your body, you have to spend more time and effort.

Too Much & Rapid Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Typically during pregnancy, your baby should weigh between 6-8 lbs (or more if he/she is a large baby). Adding the increased blood volume, embryonic fluid, placenta, etc, your total acceptable healthy weight gain during pregnancy should be between 20-30 lbs.

The amount of weight gain depends on your height and your pre-pregnancy weight in accordance to a healthy range for adult women in your age range.

I am 5ft 2in tall and my pre-pregnancy weight was around 114 lbs.

In my case, I gained 25 lbs during pregnancy. When my baby was born his weight was 6.14 lbs and including the loss of weight of the placenta and after-birth, I immediately lost 12 lbs upon giving birth.

This means I only had to lose 13 lbs to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 114 lbs.

So, if you gain 50 lbs. and your baby is around 8 lbs, and with after-birth weighing around 6-8 lbs, you still need to lose 34 lbs.

Even if you are a single, unmarried with no kids it’s a daunting task to lose 34 lbs.

So losing 34 lbs versus losing 11lbs is far harder including the fact you are looking after a new-born baby.  So keep an eye on that weight!

Not Eating Enough

That’s not a typo. Yes that’s right. When you are not eating enough food, it is harder for you to lose weight.

When you are trying to lose weight, you may think if you cut down on food consumption, you will lose weight.

When you face stress (as in when having to take care of a newborn baby) your body conserves fat & energy, so when you withhold food or calorie intake, your body responds by slowing down your metabolism, thus increasing your fat reserves since it doesn’t know when it will get its next sugar hit so to speak.

Eating regular meals helps aid your weight loss but it’s also about eating the right foods to do so.

Diastasis Recti

Diastasis recti is the splitting of your left and right abdominal muscles and often this is defined by having a gap of 2 cm (0.79 inches) or more in the middle of your stomach.

To test if you have Diastasis Recti:

  • Lie on your back
  • Put your feet on the floor about 30cm away from your bottom.
  • You lift your head, neck and chest up so it looks like you are doing a crunch, pull in your stomach and put your finger about 2-3cm below your belly button.
  • You will feel if you have a gap or not.
    (*Disclaimer: you should check with your doctor or a medical professional to verify if you do suffer from Diastasis Recti)
  • Diastasis Recti takes 6-9 months to recover and reduce that gap. There are many articles telling you how you can get it and how many people have it after giving birth but no one tells you how to prevent it.

Your doctor may say most women get it and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

I was worried about getting it as I was doing a lot of Pilates before getting pregnant and my abs were very strong.

My Pilates teacher even told me women with strong abs before pregnancy are even more at risk than women who don’t have strong abs since if your abs are so tightly knitted together, the chances of it ripping apart during pregnancy/giving birth is much higher.

I was lucky that after I gave birth, I did not have Diastasis Recti at all and I also didn’t suffer from much back pain during my pregnancy either.

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