Injury-Free Post-partum Exercise

Lindsay Watkins, RD, IBCLC, Take Control Health Coach

Most women are given the green light to exercise at their six week post-partum checkup. What most new moms don’t realize, is that it’s not okay to jump back into their pre-pregnancy fitness routine. Many women, especially in Montana, are eager to get back on their mountain bikes, skis, or hit the trails.The truth is, muscles become tight, overstretched, and weak during pregnancy, and it’s important to take it slow to minimize the side effects of giving birth, and to avoid injury. Unfortunately for some women, exercise can be uncomfortable or cause injury. Before re-starting your old fitness routine, get evaluated by a women’s health physical therapist. This is a great way to see if you have any post-partum side effects from pregnancy and delivery, and they'll also help you create a plan to move forward.

Former Montanan and outdoor athlete Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan shares a personal and compelling story "What I'd Wish I'd Known About the "Fourth Trimester" - describing her experience with separated abdominal muscles after jumping back in to her pre-baby exercise routine. Her story originally appeared in 5280 Health.

Stories like Elisabeth’s are not uncommon, and can happen to all types of women with all types of fitness levels and birth stories. These issues come in varying degrees and may not always be obvious. If you feel like something is off, you have pain, or just want to get evaluated, schedule an appointment with a physical therapist who specializes in women’s health. If you continue to wait or brush it off as normal post-partum symptoms, the problem can worsen and be harder to correct. Here is a list of the therapists in Montana that specialize in women’s health.