Hey, lovelies! 16 weeks have gone by since I gave birth to my little muffin. I am still running on little sleep and huge mugs of blue tea, but happy to say that I am back on my mat. So it’s about time I write a post on my postpartum yoga journey.
Before that, please note – all bodies are different and we all struggle with challenges of our own. This is an account of my personal journey where the goal is to gain my pre-pregnancy strength. I worked with midwives and my GP to figure out what worked best for me. You can read an account of my pregnancy here – Pregnancy, Fitness, and Disappearing eyebrows
I underwent Forceps Delivery and a third-degree episiotomy (a surgical incision made between vagina and rectum). My Diastasis Recti or DR (abdominal separation) measured three and a half fingers after birth. I had lost so much strength that I was in a wheelchair for the first two days and couldn’t get up from the bed without assistance. Things looked better after a few days, nonetheless, the first week was extremely tough. Thankfully, by 4th week my stitches had almost healed and DR had reduced to 2 finger gap. It was then I started doing pelvic exercises. Since I had DR I was careful about not doing anything that might hinder the healing of the gap, that means no planking, twists, and backbends. You can easily find if you have a DR by following simple steps – Diastatic Recti Test.
I started gentle yoga practice after the doctor gave me all clear sign at my 6 weeks checkup. At that point, even doing one round of Suryanamaskar took a lot of effort due to weak core and inflexibility in the back. So I modified a lot of poses to accommodate my healing body. I mostly concentrated on stretching and balancing asanas as these were easier to do. This is me at 6 weeks postpartum, doing my first Warrior III after birth.
Along with Suryanamaskar sequence, warrior variations, and sunbird pose, I loved doing half-moon. A wonderful Diastasis Recti friendly pose that helped me in improving my balance.
The abdominal separation across my belly further reduced to half a fingertip by week 11 but the healing has slowed down now. I started holding core strengthening poses like Vasisthasana or side planks and forward planks. I am not doing too much of deep core strengthening workouts like Navasana.
Before pregnancy, I was working on my splits and was just a yoga block away from achieving them. I tried to find articles on doing splits after episiotomy, but couldn’t find much information. So, I thought, I will figure it out myself. 🙂 I waited till week 10 to practice half splits and lizard poses to improve hip flexibility. My leg flexibility has improved a lot now, especially forward fold, which was really hard to do after birth. No, the stitches don’t hurt, but doing a split is still a distant dream. 🙂
This is not a good “Extended hand to toe pose” 🙂 Working towards improving hip mobility.
I have lost a lot of my back flexibility. Wheel or Chakrasana, which I could easily do before, looks like an impossibility now. 🙂 I don’t mind being back to basics. It’s amazing how our bodies transform and heal when given time. The two backbends that I am trying to improve are “wild thing” (Camatkrasana) and “dancer’s pose” (Natrajasana). Back flexibility is going to be challenging as I am mindful of Diastasis Recti.
The only inversion I can currently do is Headstand. My shoulders and core need a bit more strengthening before I can try forearm stand or handstand. Here’s a headstand at week 10.
Along with yoga I also do low body workouts like squats and lunges, hip and spine mobility movements, walking on a treadmill and diastasis recti friendly full-body workouts (which I found on Instagram by an amazing trainer Dana Landgren (@danalandgren)). All of them are low impact workouts which are great for me.
My little one likes to sleep in arms, so I do a lot of heavy lifting all day long. I don’t have a fixed time and practice whenever he is asleep or is playing with my parents. I spend anywhere between 15 to 60 minutes on working out. Frankly, some days I just sit and stare at him. 🙂
Before I finish off this post – I have always wanted to make one of these before and after photos. So here goes:
If you have any questions or tips about post-pregnancy health, please let me know in the comments.
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