Oh Baby: Top Tips for the 4th Trimester, Part 2

Oh Baby: Top Tips for the 4th Trimester, Part 2

Today’s post is coming from our girl Lauren Roxburgh, dubbed the Body Whisperer. She’s an author of ‘Taller, Slimmer, Younger – 21 Days to a Foam Roller Physique’, founder of Be Aligned by Lauren Roxburgh, creator of the Lo Rox Aligned Rollers and the Be Aligned video series. Certified in fields of Structural Integration, classical Pilates, nutrition and pre/post-natal yoga, Lauren is a body worker, trainer and fascia and alignment expert who works with some of the world’s top athletes and celebrities. She’s also a friend of Team LC’s, and is sharing part two of her 4th trimester series for all of the new mamas out there…

Hey again beauties! Last week I gave you my top ten tips for the first 6 weeks of your 4th Trimester, which is what the first 3 months after you give birth is sometimes called (read more about these first three months in part 1 of my 4th Trimester series by clicking here). These first six weeks are all about healing and taking it easy, easing into having this precious new life out in the world with you and trying to enjoy this precious bonding time as much as you can (when you’re feeling like a sleep deprived zombie). So, last week’s tips were more about restoring your body and spirit and giving you everything you need to be happy while you nourish yourself and your beautiful baby.

But the second 6 weeks of your 4th Trimester are more about starting the process of getting your body back. So, while you should keep doing the self-care tips from I recommended last week that work for you, this week’s tips are a little more about starting to get that bod moving again to start the process of getting healthy and help you feel strong and sexy again.

how to take care of yourself after baby

There’s no doubt that becoming a mama is both amazing and overwhelming at the same time.  It’s such a yo-yo of emotions and so much of the attention is put on the baby, that we can tend to forget what our own body (and spirit) has been through on  this journey. And let’s face it,  pregnancy and giving birth does a real number on your body. For many, it can lead to chronic problems such as backaches, incontinence, pain during sex, not to mention aesthetic issues such as cellulite, a weakened core, stretch marks and even a pooched belly.

Six weeks after your baby is born, you’ll head back to your OBGYN for a checkup, and if all is going well, this is the time you are cleared to start working out again. This is a really important time to start re-aligning your body and reconnecting to your deep core and pelvic floor and knitting your body back into place. I know it might feel like you’ll never get back to normal, but trust me: Having been through it twice, I’ve developed some tips that will help you on the path back to feeling (and looking) your best. Here they are…

First off, getting back in shape is not a race and your body has been through major physical trauma. Couple that with sleep deprivation and the depletion that just constantly caring for a newborn causes, and you need to chill the eff out and ease back into exercising.  Focus on slow, mindful moves that will help you rebuild a solid and stable foundation and don’t rush it. And hell, why not embrace the Mom Bod for the moment while you’re at it. You’ll never have a better excuse to be carrying a few extra pounds. So know that if you’ve just given birth you have performed a miracle. Celebrate every inch of your amazing body for allowing you to have performed such a miracle! The post-baby body can be emotionally challenging but you will get back to where you were. In fact there’s no reason you can’t get back into even better shape than you were, given time. So take it slow, believe in your miraculous body and stay positive.

how to take care of yourself after baby arrives

As I said, pregnancy does a number on your body, but most of all it does a number on your core.  Your core muscles will have been stretched massively throughout the three trimesters of your pregnancy, and if you’ve had a C Section, or suffered Diastasis Recti, you’ll literally have to re-build and re-knit your core. To make matters more difficult, the fascia or connective tissue builds up around the lower back in order to support extra weight of the belly, and that thickness persists after the baby is born which can lock up the lower back. Getting on your foam roller is a great way to work on your core. Check out my workout 10 Ways to Foam Roll For a Flat Belly by clicking here.

*Disclaimer: if you have Diastasis Recti or had a C-Section please check with your healthcare provider before starting any workouts.

Another area that takes it’s knocks during pregnancy and in the 4th trimester is your booty. It’s likely that throughout pregnancy you haven’t been able to work out nearly so much, particularly in the last few weeks. And in the 6 weeks since you gave birth you’ve probably spent many hours sitting on your bum as you look after your little precious. Strengthening your booty also really helps to stabilize your lower back and pelvis. Again the foam roller is a great tool to get those glutes working and smiling again, so check out my Booty Lifting Workout by clicking here.

how to take care of your health after baby

Inverting yourself (bringing your hips above your heart and head) is a great way for new mamas to help reposition the organs and rebuild tone in your core, pelvic floor and legs.  Plus, inversions also stimulate the flow of fresh oxygenated blood to your head, neck, shoulders and face. This improves circulation, assists in lymphatic drainage and can even help to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your fascia and skin while boosting collagen production to keep your face—all of which helps you get your glow on and feel radiant even when you’re lacking sleep! Inversions will also help to decompress your joints—which have been under real stress as you carry the extra weight during pregnancy—and they can also improve digestion. Some research even says that inverted moves have also been shown to reduce hair loss and prevent grey hair! So what’s not to like about getting upside down. Here is a great inversion series on the roller.

how to take care of your health after baby

Rebounding is another one of my favorite workouts and this one is truly a game changer for women in the 4th trimester too! I’m so happy I found the rebounder after I had my first baby because, in conjunction with foam rolling, it really helped to regenerate, align and rejuvenate my body. NASA has actually done research on rebounding and found that it is 68 percent more effective for cardiovascular health and fat burning than running!  As I noted, incontinence can be a major issue after giving birth and personally I’ve found that rebounding for five to ten minutes per day can have a dramatically positive impact on building healthy tone in the pelvic floor and core and helping to regulate minor incontinence by activating and toning the pelvic floor while bouncing or jumping. Empty your bladder right before your jumping session (and even during, take a quite break to pee if necessary). Little by little, the tone will build back up.  My favorite rebounder is the bellicon because it’s incredibly well made, wide enough to do a lot of moves on it, has bungy cords (instead of springs) it’s quiet and safe. Plus, you can fold the legs and store it under a bed when you’re not using it. Besides building the pelvic floor muscles, a rebounder aids in lymphatic drainage to flush toxins, helps lift and tone the deep core and booty, builds bone density, and helps you flush excess fat left over from your pregnancy.  If you don’t know how to use one, don’t worry—it’s super simple and fun and I’ve got a great sequence for you here.

Recent research shows that what we eat can have a huge impact on the health our skin and fascia or connective tissue. Fascia itself is made of bundles of collagen fibers—that means that fascia needs collagen to be healthy, and even to survive in your body at all! It’s no secret that being pregnant and breastfeeding depletes our systems and pulls essential vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins to give to the baby. So it’s important to replenish our bodies after pregnancy and one of the best ways to feed your fascia is to take a collagen supplement. Collagen is the protein building block of connective tissue and helps restore our tissues, bones, muscles and helps keep our skin glowing, balance hormones, heal stretch marks, decrease cellulite, prevent hair loss and even boost metabolism. My favorite collagen powder is Vital Proteins.

how to take care of your health after baby

Due to hormonal and structural changes, mamas tend to accumulate a few more dimples than usual. Cellulite occurs when underlying fat pushes through weakened, dry, or brittle connective tissue (also known as fascia).  During pregnancy, connective tissue can become congested and stagnant. The foam roller helps massage and smooth away congestion, flush out toxins and boost the lymphatic system, increase immunity, stimulate circulation, “wring out” and hydrate the connective tissue—all of which helps reduce cellulite. And you guessed it—I’ve got a great foam roller workout that will help you roll away the cellulite here.

My favorite quick new mama cleansing  ‘circuit’ is to dry brush, then workout on your roller for 10 minutes, rebound for 10 minutes, then do a bath in magnesium salts to draw out toxins and impurities, and help re-mineralize your skin and tissues. Magnesium is nature’s anti-stress mineral and contributes to health in numerous ways including fascia, muscle and cellular relaxation that makes it a must at the end of the day before bed to support optimal beautifying sleep, recovery, digestion and overall better vitality. By doing these in a of circuit of brushing, rolling, rebounding and finish with a hot bath you will help your body release toxins and deeply heal and replenish from the inside out. You can find my Rolling and Rebounding workouts for glowing skin and burning fat here.

There’s a reason the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” came into common currency. This is a time where your community is more important than ever. Finding a Mommy group is a great way to get some support and meet some other women going through the same things you’re facing. While I’m mixing metaphors, it’s worth noting that “a problem shared is a problem halved” and sometimes just talking about whatever issue you’re facing with some sympathetic listeners can help you feel normal. And, often the other mamas might have some valuable advice and tips that really help. As I said last week, this is not a time to be proud. This is a time to ask for help if you feel you need it. So find a group of women (and men!) who will support you.

A final tip is just to try and carve out some time for YOU. It’s all too easy to let you become the last priority but scheduling in a bit of Mama time is a sanity saver. Head out and have a walk, get a pedicure, meet a girlfriend for coffee.  Whatever it is, a little Mama time is worth its weight in gold to keep life’s priorities in check!

What other post-birth tips do you have to add to this list?

Let us know in the comments below and thank you to Lauren for contributing yet another wonderfully informative post! You can check out Lauren’s website here.

XO Team LC

Photos: Lauren Roxburgh