We’ve all heard the phrase “preparation is key” and in the world of growing a baby, there probably feels like there is a lot of preparation to be had in terms of the birth and caring for your baby. Where we do seem to fall down a little though regarding the postpartum period. As for exercise professionals we align with “prevention is better than a cure” so for us, and you, the more you understand in your pregnancy about your body and mind, the more you will be prepared for your postpartum period and be able to cope.
We interviewed Jen Dugard to learn more about how to prepare your body and mind for postpartum. Jen Dugard is the founder and creator of MumSafe—the go-to website for mums to connect with Personal Trainers that are certified, experienced, and partner with Women’s Health Physiotherapists so that you know you are in very safe hands. Today, we’re going to share with you her top three tips for gaining more awareness now so that you are more prepared later. Because let’s face it—once your baby comes along doing those things for yourself becomes this bit more challenging. Keep reading for more!
Here’s How to Prepare Your Body and Mind for Postpartum
1) Get to know your pelvic floor during pregnancy
We find that the more you are aware of your pelvic floor prior to the birth of your baby the more prepared for your birth experience you are and for your recovery. You may also find you have a tight or hypertonic pelvic floor and that learning to relax it prior to pushing your baby out is a really good idea and could even contribute to preventing birth trauma. Birth trauma is when you experience or associate birth with a traumatic memory. By practicing (if you are able to) your pelvic floor exercises, you can begin to strengthen the muscle that will be most active during your pregnancy. You will have to train this muscle after giving birth so that it once again becomes strong.
2) Be aware of your mental health
Be aware of your mental health and have a plan for support if you need it. When you consider your mental health ahead of time and have a plan of what you will do if you find yourself experiencing PND or anxiety after the birth of your baby. At MumSafe, we partner with COPE to help to support our pregnant and postpartum mums. COPE also has both preparing for birth and new parents’ email information you can sign up for. Visit COPE to experience more about what you can do for your mental health when you are pregnant today and learn all of the ways that they can help.
3) Begin to learn to accept your body
Begin to learn to accept your body. Many women we work with have suffered body image challenges throughout their life and may have thought that a smaller body is a better body. They experience their self-worth is directly connected to the size of their body and might even find that changes in their relationship postpartum can feel directly related. Beginning to accept your body can allow you to experience parenthood in a whole new way without the stress of having to learn to accept it. Preparing yourself ahead of time for the changes that may come can help you make the connection to your body and realize it is a powerful machine that brings life into this world. What an amazing quality your body has!
When these things are left unchecked or unconsidered, they can lead you to be driven by aesthetic or size-based goals and put extreme pressure on yourself in the postpartum period. This can not only lead to stress physically but also mentally and emotionally. And our bonus tip would be to make sure you have a circle of support around you every step of the way so that you have the right people to lean on and be connected to once your bub comes along. When you work with our trainers, you will find they have created a circle of support that you will gain access to, and that’s winning! It’s so important to take control of your health when you are pregnant and take all the necessary precautions and preparations you can before your baby comes. This will help support your lifestyle when you become a mother and your connection with your baby.