How to Stay Fit During Pregnancy & Recovering Postpartum (Plus: My Two Month Postpartum Journey Update)
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Note: I am not a medical professional and all the opinions in this post are my own. Please consult with your OB before exercising during and after pregnancy.
If you’ve been a regular reader – or know me personally – it’s no surprise that I’d want to spend my pregnancy staying as fit and healthy as possible.
Since I fell in love with weight lifting in college, fitness has held a special place in my heart. It’s what grounds me, what motivates me, what keeps me feeling good.
Now, as someone with a job sitting in front of the computer all day, working out has been my favorite way to get my body moving and keep my stress low. My love for weight training has stayed consistent over the years, as has my love for yoga.
As I fully admit in this post, surviving the first trimester (and sometimes beyond) doesn’t necessarily mean that you keep up with your workout regimen like you did pre-pregnancy. It simply means that you stay as healthy as you can and you often prioritize rest over a workout, or maybe you do a little extra walking instead. Both prenatal and postnatal journeys are all about honoring your body and what it needs.
It was during my first trimester that I discovered The Bloom Method and Studio Bloom. This incredible program focuses on strengthening the core and pelvic floor (along with the rest of your beautiful bod!) both during and after pregnancy for the best possible pregnancy, delivery, and recovery.
During my second trimester, my Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) pain became so intense that sometimes I would nearly be in tears when I overdid it from walking too much…or walking at all. Besides this fun symptom, I felt great – as many women do – throughout my second trimester. You’re not so big that everything hurts and (for most of us) a lot of the nausea has passed.
Again, The Bloom Method saved the day for me. While the studio itself is headquartered in Boulder, CO, the app (Studio Bloom) is not only perfect for someone who works from home and likes to work out at home, but also has classes perfectly suited for pelvic pain. I was able to continue to strengthen my body, while doing specific exercises that didn’t make my SPD flare up.
I know, I know. By the third trimester, you’re probably over working out. But doing modified workouts and regular stretching was one of the best things I did for myself during the third trimester. (Here’s some other helpful tidbits on third trimester exercising.)
It’s subtle, but look closely at the difference in my belly button/bottom of my belly in the two photos. On the left, you’ll see I’m relaxed, while on the right, I’m actually flexing my abs. What I’m doing here is one of the core (pun intended!) philosophies of The Bloom Method: belly pumping.
By continuing to use your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor (the right way!) during your pregnancy, you’ll likely have a better delivery and faster recovery. These workouts helped me feel strong until the end, even though your body holds onto some extra fat during pregnancy.
Everyone talks about the delivery during a pregnancy…and for good reason. Birth is often compared to running a marathon, so you have to train and be ready for it. That’s why fitness is so, so important before, during, and after pregnancy.
In total, I gained exactly 30 pounds during my pregnancy, which is right where I needed to be based on my pre-pregnancy height and weight. I gave birth to my incredible son at 39 weeks and 1 day…and oh, what an amazing day it was! (You can read our whole birth story here.)
What I will say about Roman’s delivery – in regards to fitness – is that I felt both mentally and physically prepared for the long day. I truly believe the fact that I only had to push for 15 minutes (without tearing!) as a first-time Mom was in big part thanks to doing Studio Bloom throughout my pregnancy.
Everyone talks about “snapping back” into shape as a new Mom.
Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: not only do most female bodies not snap right back (regardless of how fit you are!), but it simply takes time for your body to heal. You did a lot of changing in 10 months and, though our bodies are capable of amazing things, don’t expect to get a 6-pack right away. I certainly did not expect to get to my before picture right away, but it does serve as my inspiration!
A reminder here again: talk to your healthcare provider before attempting any exercise post-birth.
1 Week Postpartum
Since I had a vaginal delivery with no stitches, my OB felt comfortable allowing me to start back into light exercise after just one week.
For me, that meant short walks (I could only last so long with my SPD pain – though better, still returning to normal), two visits a week to my chiropractor, and starting the CoreFIX and CoreRehab programs in Studio Bloom.
As nap times (both Roman’s and mine!) would allow, I tried to do at least 2-3 of The Bloom Method videos this week. (In many instances – postpartum recovery included – sleep is way more important than getting in a workout!)
Since a lot of the core work in these routines is actually breath work, you can start very soon after delivery (as long as you have your doc’s OK!). It helps re-establish your connection to your core, help you feel like you did something, and start making you feel like yourself again!
2 Weeks Postpartum
I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised that my belly deflated so quickly postpartum. Not only did the workouts, walking, and eating healthy help, but I also exclusively breastfeed and took encapsulated placenta pills, which both make a huge difference in helping your uterus and body return to what it once was (or close, anyway).
4 Weeks Postpartum
After a month, I was well on my way to feeling more like myself. Not only had my pregnancy belly shrank dramatically, but Roman was also letting us get a lot more sleep at night by the 4th week!
This is also around the time I started doing more Studio Bloom workouts (3-4 per week) and walking regularly.
5 – 7 Weeks Postpartum
The biggest difference in month 2 was going from a deflated belly to starting to feel it tone and tighten it again. There are definitely days – just like pre-pregnancy – where I feel more toned and days where I feel more bloated. It’s all part of the journey!
8 Weeks Postpartum
Overall, I’m extremely happy with how far my body has come in just 8 short weeks. I can feel my core strength really coming back now and the arch in my back from pregnancy returning to normal. My SPD pain is also nearly gone entirely!
You can see below that theres’s still some extra skin to tighten and my belly to tone even more, but the strength and definition is coming back every day!
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I have a long way to go in toning my core back to what it once was, but I’m so proud of what my body has done – and continues to do – and how it’s worked it come back.
Stay fit during and after pregnancy
If it’s not obvious by now, I’m obsessed with The Bloom Method and Studio Bloom. If you’re trying to get pregnant, already pregnant, or postpartum, I highly recommend checking out this amazing program. You (and your amazing body) will be so happy you did!
Your first class is free and then it’s only $39/month! Sign up for Studio Bloom now!
Banner image credit: The Bloom Method