The Fourth Trimester: The Importance of REST
REST is crucial for the postpartum woman. Allowing our bodies to heal appropriately before jumping back into exercise will provide incredible benefits both mentally and physically.
Everyone has a different experience. After giving birth to Leven, my body naturally responded to my ability to rest with small amounts of functional core rehabilitation. I think it’s essential for us to use our fourth trimester by giving back to our bodies, focusing on our little(s), and allowing for the emotional space to adjust to our new lives. Our bodies, minds, and families have experienced a massive transition through pregnancy, birth, and, now, motherhood. Slowing down should be our temporary pace as we revel in the present.
So what did my first week of motherhood look like?
A LOT OF REST mixed with a little bit of smart movement. I spent the first seven days in bed with Leven. Soaking him in, skin to skin, nursing, and eating food that nourished me in significant ways. We had very few visitors and only left the house twice for craniosacral treatments so that Leven can integrate slowly into his new world.
I diaphragmatically breathed with every breath (remember this doesn’t happen overnight but happens with patience and awareness). I spent time doing The Bloom Method’s Core Foundations techniques while laying/sitting in bed but never more than 5-7 minutes per day. I tapped into my pelvic floor to ensure that the connection was stable and balanced, slowly coming back online while implementing correct core activation with all functional movements to address how my core fires throughout my day. Bringing my core and pelvic floor back online through gentle and effective techniques also aided in the internal healing required as well. Remember that healing postpartum is a vital step in your recovery. Postpartum, you are left with a plate-sized wound that requires healing and REST in order to recover appropriately.
While reintegrating my core connection was important in the early days postpartum, I mostly loved on this sweet little boy of mine, moved slowly, enjoyed the newness and magic of our little trifecta, and provided the space for my body to heal and thrive!
Your body can do miraculous things if you allow yourself to rest accordingly in the first weeks postpartum. Of course, I amped up my rehab a couple of weeks later and added slow, movement-based exercises to target the pelvic floor and TVA. However, you can bet that I enjoyed the softness, focused on the functional side of things, and ensured that I got tons of REST, REST, REST!
When we allow our bodies to rest and slowly rehabilitate we provide a stronger foundation for returning to exercise. While I am a firm believer in getting adequate rest in the first 6 weeks postpartum, I have an equal belief system around the reintegration and use of our core and pelvic floors prior to the 6-week check-up and most definitely before jumping back into exercise. Rest and proper rehabilitation in the postpartum period will provide you with the strongest core-based connection when returning to your movement of choice. Be mindful in your connection and remember that your body deserves a re-introduction to movement, with all its been through over the past 9 months. Move smart and rest well, mamas, and your body will reward you.