A woman’s body produces many different hormones during pregnancy to maintain it and then to help with childbirth. The effects of your post pregnancy hormones may impact your day-to-day activities, mood, energy and should certainly be considered when selecting your postnatal workouts!
This is a hormone that is secreted by woman’s ovaries, placenta and even uterine lining during whole pregnancy. During first and second semesters it inhibits muscle contractions preventing premature childbirth and at the end of pregnancy promotes rupture of the membranes surrounding the fetus and opening and softening of the cervix and vagina and relaxing of ligaments of the pelvis to aid the process of childbirth. Relaxin loosens the muscles and ligaments in the body, so pregnant women may be more prone to spraining or overstretching muscles during physical activity and their joints may be in danger. Even after delivery, relaxin is still active so it may take up to five months before you feel more stable in your body. This means that high impact workouts should be limited during this time. Workouts should be lower impact and promote good alignment, range of movement and posture. Remember that low impact does not have to mean low intensity
The hormone which stimulates milk production in your body—remains in your body from pregnancy and as long as you breastfeed. It may influence your behavior, metabolism, immune system and fluid regulation which explains your possible mood swings and water retention (edema) after childbirth. Fluid retention can sometimes be mistaken for weight gain which can lead to further problems for new mums who may be desperate to return to their pre birth size, shape and weight and are battling something outside of their control. This is a sensitive issue and exercise can play a huge part in helping both mentally and physically.
This is another hormone that plays an important role in labor and breastfeeding. During labor it stimulates uterine muscle contraction and while breastfeeding it promotes the movement of milk into the breast. Latest researches show that oxytocin is very important in social behavior. It is responsible for sexual arousal, recognition, trust, anxiety. That is why it is also called ‘love hormone’. Besides oxytocin is known to trigger mother–infant bonding. This is where having things you look forward to enjoying can help, a circle of friends going through the same and the feel good hormone release that workouts give you.
Though all women produce these hormones during and after pregnancy and delivery, not all women will share the same, physical and emotional experiences. Not every women experiences the same timeline and levels of fluctuations. It is important for new mums and the practitioners working with them to understand and allow for these changes and set realistic goals and timeline to work to. Workouts should be flexible to the energy changes that mums experience and should have as many barriers to entry removed as possible, childcare, travel, extra costs, separation etc etc can all limit the ability of new mums to stick to a workout regime and experience the incredible host of benefits it offers!
To check out a workout routine that is appropriate, results driven and with barriers removed CLICK HERE