6 Weeks Postpartum Recovery and Fitness Update

3 days postpartum - postpartum body

I can’t believe I’m able to work out again!  That early postpartum time went by really quickly but also very slowly at the same time.  (Hello sleep deprivation!)  I always try to savor those first few weeks because they go by in the blink of an eye and I make sure to not worry about my weight and not being able to work out.  I focus on healing and taking care of my baby and nursing around the clock.  By about 4 and a half weeks postpartum I always start itching to get moving again though, simply because my body and my brain love and need the movement and endorphins.  It’s never easy to get started with a fitness routine again but I like to think of it as an opportunity to reset my body and train and shape it how I want it to be.  It takes a lot of work and I’m not one who bounces back immediately or without effort (it takes me a good 6 months and lots of miles/strength training to look and feel like myself again), but I think it’s so fascinating to watch how the female body changes during and after pregnancy.  This time around I’m doing the Glow Body PT 12 Week Post-Pregnancy Plan and also incorporating extra running.  After 1 week I can say that I’m really loving it so far!  It’s full of so much great information and I loved the Glow Body PT free videos so much before I got pregnant and during pregnancy so I’m really excited to get started on this next fitness journey.  If you want to try the plan yourself you can use code WHIMSY15 for 15% off!  I took my “before” photos at 5 weeks postpartum so I’ll share the before and afters once I complete the plan.

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postpartum girdle - postartum belly binding - c-section recovery

I’ve been wearing the postpartum corset that I also used after having Jack and Caroline.  I think it really helps your body remember where things are supposed to go back to and it helps with swelling and fluid retention too.  I wear a medium one from 3 days postpartum to 2 weeks postpartum, and then I size down to a small one.  I typically wear them from breakfast time until dinner, but there are days I don’t feel like wearing it at all so I’ll skip it.  I try to wear it daily until I hit a month postpartum, and by that point I get a little more relaxed about it and wear it just a few days a week.  I ran while wearing it after having Jack because I thought the support felt good on my c-section incision, but after the girls (VBACs) I haven’t exercised in it.

When I was pregnant I topped out at 178 pounds, which is about a 50 pound weight gain.  The only negative remark in my pregnancy file was “excessive weight gain,” and while I’m kind of annoyed by that label I definitely gained more than the recommended amount.  I think my body just likes to gain weight during pregnancy, and despite working out and eating fairly well most of the time I still gained that much.  Anyway, I gained 40 with Jack and then 45 with Caroline, so I’m sure that losing the weight will take even more effort this time.  Here is the 6 week postpartum update that I wrote after having Caroline, and I was 9 pounds lighter than I was when I hit 6 weeks postpartum this time around.  Fascinating to see the differences between pregnancies and recovery.  This recovery has but MUCH easier than the first 2 times, but the weight loss is happening slower.  I don’t fixate on the weight though, I just kind of like to observe it as a science experiment (I love numbers) that’s going on with my body as it adjusts to life with a baby outside of it.  It’s much more important how my body feels, and I can already tell that my body is getting stronger and more conditioned every time I exercise.  I can’t wait for running to be easy again!  I’ve missed my long runs.  Gotta put in the work until then though!  Oh and here are the high-rise leggings I lived in while pregnant and they’re AMAZING postpartum too, this is my favorite loose-fitting tank, and here are the sneakers I’ve worn for years (I replace the insoles with Dr. Scholl’s running insoles for more cushion).

colorfulkoala leggings - amazon leggings with pockets

Here are the workouts I’ve done so far:

Monday, 1/20/20.  2 mile run walk in 26:21.  I ran the first .72 miles without stopping and felt pretty good (I’m using the word good very loosely), until I got a breathing cramp that I couldn’t get rid of.  I ran/walked the next .75 miles (more walking than running) but every time I’d start running again the breathing cramp was still there.  It finally went away and I ran the last half mile without stopping.  My pace was slow, my legs protested because they haven’t moved like that in a while, my belly jiggled, but gosh it felt good to move again.  I always like to describe postpartum running as running underwater.  It really does feel that way for quite a while.  Pelvic floor-wise I felt much better than I did when I was recovering from having Caroline.  (Here is Caroline’s birth story and here is Tate’s birth story.)  I had a second degree tear with Caroline and struggled with urinary incontinence for a while.  (Diligence with doing kegels helped solve that problem.  And I’ve heard that pelvic floor PT is a life saver for a lot of women, though I haven’t tried it myself.)

Saturday, 1/25/20.  3.01 mile run in 32:59 with no stopping!  I made sure to control my breathing this time and was able to prevent any breathing cramps.  I was so surprised I did the whole thing without stopping!  It’s still uncomfortable but I wasn’t in pain at all.

Monday, 1/27/20.  I hit 6 weeks postpartum on Sunday, 1/26 so I started the Glow Body PT 12 week post-pregnancy plan today.

Tuesday, 1/28/20.  Glow Body PT lower body workout and 1 mile run on the treadmill.

Thursday, 1/30/20.  Glow Body PT upper body workout and 1 mile run on the treadmill.  (Sore from the lower body workout on Tuesday!)

Friday, 1/31/20.  3.37 mile run in 36:02.  No stopping!

Saturday, 2/1/20.  3 mile run in 31:29.  No stopping.  2 mile walk with the family and I spent hours playing at the Aulani pools with the kids.  (We had friends staying there and we were added to their reservation so that we could use the pools.  I’m planning on writing a blog post recap on our experience shortly!)

Sunday, 2/2/20.  2 mile walk with the family and lots of playing at the Aulani pools.

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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