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"Post-Partum Recovery and Realigment"
-Andrea Vincent
date posted: February 13, 2010

Post-Partum Recovery and Realignment
by Andrea Vincent, founder of seeMOMMYrun.com and IFPA-certified Women`s Fitness Specialist

We all think about and read about pre-natal fitness and worry about losing the “baby weight,” but few people consider the importance of post-partum realignment. The thought of realigning my body never crossed my mind after the birth of my first child. That is why I would like to share my findings about this crucial part of healing ourselves with moms everywhere.

You felt the aches and pains throughout your body during pregnancy. But did you know that during pregnancy your posture is misaligned causing neurological problems, erosion of joint surfaces, disc compression, nerve or blood vessel entrapment, shortened lower back and hip flexors, weakened muscles, outward protruding head and curved spine? Think about it – for nine months your body was contorting itself to house a growing baby. These symptoms will not magically disappear after you give birth. You must take action to realign your spine and prevent structural problems later in life.

If you don`t take 15 minutes per day to realign your bony structure and muscles after pregnancy you could have major issues later in life. The simple stretches and exercises in this article are extremely important and extremely simple.

Here is a quick synopsis:

Postpartum you MUST realign your posture to get things "back to normal" and help promote balance. We have all seen women later in life who have one or more of the following structural problems: a curved spine forcing them to lean forward as if they have a “hump” in their upper back, hip/join problems, joint inflammation issues, and balance problems.

The following stretches and exercises can help you avoid these structural problems now and later in life. Remember to always consult your physician prior to engaging in any exercise program, especially post-partum due to the vast differences in birth experiences.

Week 1 post-partum
(you can do these while holding baby if you like) –

* kegels

* constructive rest - lie on back, knees bent, feet on floor, rest hands on abs while deep breathing, visualize spine stretching. Try to do this for 20 minutes several times each week.

* Hiss/compress - lie on back, pull abs toward floor to compress them while hissing, relax while breathing in, repeat as many times as you like.

* Walking a few minutes each day.

WEEK 2
Continue all moves from Week 1, plus:

* head lifts as if doing sit-ups while lying on floor. tests your muscle strength and prepares for ab work.

* pelvic tilts for glutes/abs - lie on floor, bend knees, feet flat on floor, lift hips up toward celing.

* stretch glutes - while on back, pull one knee at a time into chest, other leg stretched out long on floor.

* back stretches - sit cross-legged and pull around to each side while keeping hips on floor.

* chest stretches if you breast feed. sit indian style and clasp hands in front of you, pull out, then behind you.

WEEKS 3-6
Continue all moves from Week 1 and Week 2, plus:

* curl ups with hands across abs - mini sit ups with hands protecting your abs. slowly!

* donkey kicks - on hands and knees, slowly kick 1 leg behind you - 1 leg at a time.

* superman - lay on stomach, stretch one arm and opposite leg straight into air, then switch to other arm/leg.

Additional Exercises for Weeks 3-6:

* push ups on knees, child pose stretch, standing squats (legs together only), standing leg stretches

AFTER 3-6 WEEKS YOU CAN...

* start jogging or doing stair stepper (check with doctor if you had a c-section)

* strength training after 6 weeks (concentrate on upper back, glutes/hams

* after 6 weeks add ballet 2nd position squats (feet wide apart)

* practice centering (like standing deep into floor while yoga breathing, balancing on one foot, etc.)

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