Postnatal recovery – do it smartly

mother holding her baby

Hi, I am Adrienn Urmos, a mum of four kids and I work as a women’s health coach, I help women with prenatal preparation,  postnatal recovery and much more.

I am the founder of yorflo, a fitness and yoga instructor, hypnobirthing teacher and to be able to help women the best possible way I have taken specialised trainings for prenatal preparation, postnatal recovery and hormonal balance. (Fitness and 200hrs Yoga-, LoveYourBelly© -, Aviva Method©-, Dolphin Method© Pre- and Postnatal Vinyasa Yoga- and The Wise Hippo© Hypnobirthing  instructor)

When it comes to postnatal recovery I usually meet three types of mums. With four births I have been all three of them…  Please forgive me for the generalisation.

  • The one who wants a flat belly. now.
  • The one who feels miserable, lost and ashamed, because she wets herself. (might be because of other pelvic floor issues).
  • The one who wants to feel better in her body but doesn’t know how to start.

So in nutshell let’s go through these situations…

A. When a Mum wants her flat belly back, we usually talk about the separation of the abdominal muscles, often referred to as diastasis/diastasis recti.

It takes 9 months for our body to change and to develop another fully functional human being. During this time the baby needs and makes space in our bodies. The abdominal muscles are flexible and can easily adopt to this change. But the tissue between the abs, called the linea alba is not so much. Often it gets weaker, thinner or in some cases even tears. Very often it is not able to  pull the abs back to their original places after the pregnancy and a gap will remain there. If this gap doesn’t close the muscles cannot fulfil their original functions-  like keeping our organs safely in their places. There will be much more pressure on the pelvic floor and on the lower back.

So it is not only an aestethical issue. And unfortunately usually classic abdominal exercises like crunches, Russian twists… make the situation even worse. 

I can help you with identifying if you have separation and teach you special exercises to close the gap. Also I will explain you which movements you can do safely and which ones you should avoid

B. Incontinency and pelvic floor issues are very common but not normal. 

I know how lost I felt realising I have a prolapse after our 3rd baby. And I meet so many mums with similar issues, like

  • Loosing control of the bladder in some situations, or in general, sometimes even without feeling it.
  • Air goes in the vagina with certain moves, and makes a funny noise when leaves. 
  • Lost sensation or not feeling tight during intercourse. 
  • Strange feeling of pressure ‘down there’ or a bulge in the vagina.
  • After going to the toilet the feeling you have to go again, right away.

Mums who had c-sec births usually think that their pelvic floor is safe, but unfortunately it is not so simple. When our abdominal muscles and the core in general is weak the pressure on the pelvic floor is much greater. So even after a c-sec or actually even without being pregnant women can develop pelvic floor disorders. 

I can teach you special pelvic floor exercises that will make your pelvic floor muscles strong. Even stronger than ever. And you can prevent or improve any pelvic floor dysfunctions including prolapse.

C. Starting exercising safely in postpartum

And of course it is very common that a mum is a bit lost what she can do when it comes to start  exercising again after the birth. How she can – if she should, fit her previous workout schedule in her new busy life. How she can fit anything in her life when the baby is there in 24/7 requiring mummy’s attention.

My postnatal classes are short enough to manage with babies around, hard enough to get stronger. I only work with mums in small groups or privately to be able to give as much attention as needed.. You can come to a class in the morning, during the day or in the evening, also online. And with recorded classes you can practice anytime really. No excuses. 🙂

So what can you do?

First of all respect your body. I always say postnatal recovery starts before birth.

PREPARE for the birth with yoga and exercise. Let birth happen in its own rhythm, and birth your baby in an upright position if possible. The position which is the most comfortable for you and you feel in control. Don’t push, just breath your baby out. I can help you with breathing techniques, and if you need more practice or guidance you can come to my prenatal yoga classes or join The Wise Hippo hypnobirthing course and become a master of relaxation and breathing techniques.

You can save yourself from a lot of trouble if you REST, mostly in bed, in the first 6 weeks after the birth of your baby. 

Look up what the word quarantine origins from. 🙂

Yes, 40 days even if you feel fit. Be a Queen enjoy your baby and let yourself spoiled. You are a Superhero you have just brought a baby to Earth-side. Your body and soul went through a lot, so give yourself a little time.

If your family is not really helpful, organise what you need in advance. Maybe a cleaner a few times, a doula who can support you in any ways you need. You can prepare and freeze some food in advance or just order.

Some women say they cannot afford to rest time-wise or financially. But it is really and truly about priorities. Those mums who had some problems after their birth can do it very differently after the next baby.

Start exercising in a gentle way. Remember it took 9 months…

Your core needs to get strong again, your body needs to find a new balance. So start with a little core activation and very gentle movements like ‘cats and cows’.

If you don’t know what core activation means please go to a professional, who has experience with postnatal recovery and can guide you properly. There are programs and apps online, but it is really worth to invest in a private consultation or check up, so you have a better understanding what you really need. 

I very often find that pelvic floor issues and diastasis actually origins from a bad posture. So I also use yoga and pilates elements to increase flexibility and safely improve core strength to correct the mums’ posture. 

My top 10 tips to get back on track:

  1. Keep your core safe: Check and correct your posture often during the day. When you lift anything do it with a straight back.
  2. Keep your abs safe: Turn on your side first when you get up from a laying position or when you lay down.
  3. Keep your pelvic floor safe: Tilt your pelvis a bit and contract the pelvic floor muscles in situations when inter-abdominal pressure increases – for example when you sit down, get up, when you squeeze. or when you lift something heavy.
  4. You can slowly start cats and cows and Kegel’s exercises even the next day you delivered your baby if it’s not painful.
  5. First go to classes which are gentle and the focus is on core activation like pilates or yoga classes. Best if you go to special postnatal recovery classes as a start.
  1. Not all instructors understand the postnatal needs, so as a rule of thumb avoid sit-ups and any pose or exercise which require similar movement, squats if you cannot engage your core, or lowering/lifting straight legs when laying on your back.
  2. Plan a schedule that is realistic. – There will be days when it’s even a challenge to take a shower. So you might feel overwhelmed and have no idea how you can do a workout. Even 5 – 10 minutes once or twicea day can have an effect, and you definitely feel better after a little exercising and stretching.
  3. Develop healthy eating habits so your digestions will be smooth and easy.
  4. Listen to your body, do what feels good. Pain is not your friend.
  5. Only go back to more intense exercising that includes weight lifting, squats, running, jumping when your core and pelvic floor are strong again.

And remember your first priority must be yourself – if you are not well it is difficult to care about others. Ask for help if needed. Love yourself, your body and respect it.