Audio Workouts For Fitness Professionals

Mums Returning to Exercise Need to Exercise Differently

October 1, 2021

Why the 6-week check is not enough to clear Mums to exercise & the questions your trainer should ask postpartum Mums on their first session back:

The 6-week postnatal check-up from the Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) is usually the final visit for both Mum and baby. This is an opportunity for the new Mum to discuss with the LMC how she is feeling both physically and mentally and hopefully receive clearance to return to safe exercise.

For the new Mum to return to exercise several checks are needed to ensure she is ready, the LMC will check how the ab separation is progressing, how the body is recovering from the stitches, and teach/practice pelvic floor activation.

From here clearance to return to exercise is given. Unfortunately, this is where the process becomes confusing and risky for both the new Mum and the Trainer. Risks occur because very few fitness trainers know how to train postnatal females safely and effectively.

Fitness trainers who have been properly educated on training postnatal Mums will cover areas and ask questions such as:

  1. Type of birth. (Vaginal or c-section)
  2. What degree of tearing (stitches)?
  3. How was the recovery process?
  4. Weight of the baby.
  5. How long was the labour?
  6. Any leaking, pain, or discomfort?
  7. Describe bowel movements.
  8. Exercise history.

A qualified postnatal trainer will also check for ab separation, measuring length, width, and depth, along with teaching pelvic floor and transverse abdominal activation.

Recommending that the new Mum visits a Women’s Health Physio (WHP) is a key part of returning to exercise. At Sub30 Core Restore we highly recommend fitness trainers build a relationship with a local WHP and work alongside them to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all postnatal clients.

How childbirth injuries can impact a Mum returning to exercise:

Many females who sustain injuries during childbirth do not seek help from medical professionals and view their issues as part of Motherhood. They live with pain, discomfort, and reduced quality of life not knowing that these injuries can be repaired.

The injuries that can occur during childbirth include:

Prolapse (lowering of the bowel, bladder or/and uterus)

Signs: A heaviness, dragging, or weighted feeling in the pelvis area.

Incontinence (uncontrollable bladder and/or bowel)

Signs:  Leaking wees or poos, having the urgency to race to the toilet, frequently needing to go to the toilet, having trouble emptying bowel or bladder.

  • Lower and Upper Back Soreness.
  • Diastasis. (Ab separation)
  • Hip/Pelvis/Knee Pain.
  • Internal Tearing/Grazing.
  • C Section.

All of the above are childbirth-related issues that can be repaired by getting the correct advice and support.

In some cases, a new Mum recovers well from childbirth and can feel that they are ready for a higher level of exercise. This is a very risky time as even though the new Mum feels great their body might not be ready and injuries could occur.

When is it ideal for Mums to return to running and high intensity exercise? What factors impact the readiness of a woman to return to high impact activities like running?

Even if a Mum feels ready, it is ideal to wait until 3 – 6months postpartum before returning to any amount of running or high-intensity exercise.

The reason for waiting prior to returning to any level or type of high-intensity exercise is that the pelvic floor muscles need time to recover from the added weight carried during pregnancy. The added weight carried in your torso while pregnant (including what you carry) is supported by your pelvic floor muscles.

During pregnancy, the pelvis area widens to allow space to carry a growing baby and aides in the childbirth process. Pelvic bones and ligaments need time to repair to restabilise the pelvis area. During pregnancy a growing baby also pushes internal organs up into the ribcage, these organs need time to return to their original position. Overall, the Mum’s body requires time is to strengthen and stabilise her hips and glutes prior to any running or jumping exercises.

What is the best advice you can give a fitness professional when training mums?

Education is the key!

We strongly recommend all fitness trainers undertake upskilling in the areas of pregnancy, postnatal and pelvic floor training. Pregnancy, childbirth, and hormones are areas that greatly impact the female body. It is important to realise that as trainers we play a huge role in educating Mums to better understand their bodies and help them on the road to recovery to ensure their injuries do not stop them from enjoying life.

Becoming qualified in this area will set you apart from other trainers within your local area. It is amazing that the knowledge and education you need to train Mums is not taught in fitness academies or institutions. This is the knowledge you need to know, not only will it make you a better trainer but also help increase your overall business.

How do Sub30 Core Restore workouts help?

The Sub30 Core Restore workouts help to improve lower back pain, reduce ab separation, and improve pelvic floor dysfunction by strengthening weak pelvic floor muscles. The workouts teach connection with the deep core muscles through the breathing process.

Sub30 Core Restore are entry-level deep core workouts that help give a balanced exercise program for females of any age or stage of the postnatal journey. Once you are postnatal, you are postnatal for life. We recommend deep core exercises several times a week as part of a regular training program, to have balance for the whole body amongst the strength, cardio, and stretch aspects.

I suffered core-related issues as a result of not having that balance, my outer core was strong, but my deep core was weak. It is important to understand that when the external core muscles are stronger (rectus abdominus, obliques & diaphragm) than the deep core muscles (pelvic floor, transverse abdominus, multifidus) they do not function properly. This dysfunction can cause pain, poor posture, alignment, and injury.

It was this experience that started me on the journey to help educate trainers and Mums. Helping to understand the female body, teaching how to help strengthen the deep core muscles to enable their whole core to be of similar strength and function in much better synergy.

The Sub30 Core Restore workouts help trainers teach how to repair and strengthen the body after pregnancy and childbirth, as well as preventing injuries with a strong functional deep core. The workouts are in audio format with voiceover commands, music, and timings. Each workout has video demonstrations on each individual exercise to ensure proper form and technique as well as giving hints, tips, and cues.

This article is written by Sub30 Core Restore Founder - Kirstyn Campbell

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