If your social circle as a new mum is anything like mine, it’s not long before the conversation in that ‘Local Mamas’ What’sApp group turns to which exercise classes we’re signing ourselves up to in a bid to lose this baby weight.
In a world where celebs are praised for strutting the red carpet looking ‘svelte in a figure-hugging LBD’ six weeks post baby and new mums can be seen throwing themselves around a HIIT class before the baby’s had its first bath, it seems the pressure to erase all physical indicators that you’ve just brought a new human into the world is more intense than ever. But at what cost?
Would we be so keen on losing a few post-baby pounds in record time if it meant putting up with incontinence, a hernia or, worse, prolapse instead?
Yeah, enough to make me think twice too.
Apparently, that’s what a lot of us are heading towards when we innocently buckle to peer pressure and embark on ill-advised fitness plans that claim to flatten our wobbly tummies before .
Sore knees? Check. Bad back? Check. Diastasis Recti? Check. Not the latest health supplement but the technical term for abdominal separation that most of us mums contend with after pregnancy and live with, unknowingly, for years afterwards.
I didn’t even know I had abs, nevermind that they’d separate to house a growing baby and result in my core being even weaker than before – I didn’t think it possible. But apparently getting the fibres to knit back together requires patience and a slow and steady approach – not quite as clickbaity and envy-inducing as the instant results stories on that Sidebar of Shame.
But we’re okay to exercise after 6 weeks, right?
Wrong. In my research to write this piece, I’ve heard countless tales of women going to bootcamp sessions 10 weeks after C-sections- sprinting, flipping tyres and doing burpees. Section scars burst, groin ligaments torn and needing surgery. Not ideal with a 3-month old baby to look after.
Sciatica, torn calf muscles, collapsed knees. These a real problems caused by women doing too much too quickly.
I got off lightly given that I went for a 5km run 6 weeks to the day after my first c-section.
Unfortunately in most cases pelvic dysfunction, and abdominal weakness goes unchecked at the 6-week post natal check and many mums play by the rules that it’s safe to exercise a mere 42 days after they’ve performed the miracle task of childbirth.
Of course there’s responsibility on trainers and on commercial gyms to check the individual progress of each participant but desperate mums can keep schtum in their blind eagerness to take part. We’ve got to be responsible for ourselves.
This video shows you how to check for abdominal separation. Mine was pretty severe after two children and complete ignorance to the condition. I checked again today (following the method in the video here under supervision for many months) and it’s vastly improved. Go me! My little girl is 6 moths old next week.