This has to STOP! This week, I’ve discussed why you can’t believe everything you read online. And the title of today’s article is exactly why. If you’ve had a baby you’ve probably heard this from your doctor. They’ve probably told you not to lift anything heavier than 20 pounds for several weeks after delivery. But, if you have multiple children, what about your 30-pound toddler at home? What about the groceries you have to carry in? What about the laundry basket? What about the carseat and your purse and diaper bag that you carry all at the same time?
In light of all of this, is the advice “don’t carry anything heavier than 20 pounds” really logical advice? Probably not. Well-intentioned, no doubt, but totally impractical for everyday living. I’m just using this as an example of the advice for “all pregnant” or “all postpartum” women. Tips like “don’t do any core work late in pregnancy or for the first several weeks postpartum” or “kegels will solve all of your pelvic floor dysfunctions” or “follow these 5 exercises for a flat tummy postpartum” abound on the internet.
These are the kinds of articles that get clicked on and read because they have trigger words for moms. For those who don’t know a lot about fitness, you may be afraid that you will hurt your baby or yourself by doing core work. Articles telling you to avoid core work, especially crunches could make you shy away from certain types of exercise that may actually be beneficial for you both in delivery and postpartum. You may think that your incontinence problems will be solved completely by doing the recommended kegels that you read about; when actually what your pelvic floor needs is to be relaxed and lengthened, not made tighter. You may follow the 5 exercises religiously to get the flat tummy you’re looking for postpartum with little to no results, not realizing that there are underlying pelvic floor or core dysfunctions that need to be addressed first.
Your best course of action in both pregnancy and postpartum is finding a team of trained professionals that can address your specific needs and considerations. Your OB/GYN, a pelvic floor physical therapist, and a pregnancy/postpartum coach are a great place to start. Instead of just being told not to lift more than 20 pounds, wouldn’t it be better to be sent to a fitness specialist who can train you how to safely lift whatever you need to in order to function optimally throughout the day? Instead of endlessly doing kegels and still having incontinence, wouldn’t it be better to be evaluated by a PFPT to see what other issues may be occurring so they can be addressed?
The birth community is full of women trained in specific fields to assist you in any way you need. We are trying to get the word out to women – we are here for you and you’re not alone! Build your team to help you have a successful perinatal experience. Reach out to me if you need help getting started!