My postpartum story | Two very different experiences

Mama and her girls

This is a tale of two very different postpartum experiences.

I had my daughters less than two years apart. I was 30 when I had my first, and 31 when I had my second.

My pregnancies were virtually the same. I never had cravings or morning sickness. I worked out throughout both pregnancies, lifting right up until my water broke with both girls.

They arrived at almost the exact same gestational moment — both born at 37 weeks and 2 days — although my first came at 7:43 in the morning and my second arrived an hour and a half earlier.

My labor and delivery with each girl was textbook. I didn’t have an epidural with either and, when I had the urge to push, I got each of those stinkers out in a few pushes.

But after my first daughter, I had zero desire to return to the gym. I went through the motions, but I didn’t enjoy my workouts. It wasn’t until I stopped breastfeeding (well, pumping as we never got the hang of breastfeeding) at 10 months that I finally felt that part of my old self return.

After my second daughter was born, I felt the desire to return to the gym within days. And within a few weeks, I felt like my old self and was so motivated to get back to the barbell that I signed up for a weightlifting competition to ensure that I got my rear into gear.

Why were the two experiences so different? And was one recovery and return to fitness more “ideal” than the other? Continue reading “My postpartum story | Two very different experiences”

Taking charge | One mother’s determination to get fit

Katherine Trakhtenbroit

When Katherine Trakhtenbroit walked into the gym, Patrick Curtis didn’t know what what to think.

Born with club feet that were later surgically corrected, doctors told her she would never run. She has a shortened achilles tendons and limited ankle and foot mobility. She has hypothyroidism. She’d just had a baby via C-section and was still recovering.

“It was a worst possible case,” Patrick said. Continue reading “Taking charge | One mother’s determination to get fit”

Better than a PR | One coach’s return to fitness after baby

Anneke Cannon

Anneke Cannon worked out her entire pregnancy. At 33 weeks, the powerlifting coach hit a lifetime PR, deadlifting 330 pounds. Three days before giving birth, she benched and deadlifted 80 percent of her max.

“I found that lifting kept me sane,” she said. “I was so used to lifting for strength or aesthetic goals but never lifting because it was something I actually liked or made me feel good. I found so much power in learning to listen to my body and moving and lifting because it felt good.”

After 22 hours of unmedicated labor, she gave birth to her son, Miles.

I think training and staying active during pregnancy immensely helped with labor and delivery,” she said. “I think that lifting helped me maintain stamina both mentally and physically. I went into it knowing that I could do hard things.”

After having Miles, Anneke (pronounced: “Monica” without the “M”)  thought she’d be able to return to training within weeks. She thought she’d bounce right back. But life after baby is a whole new world and Anneke faced some harsh realities.

Here is her story on returning to fitness. Continue reading “Better than a PR | One coach’s return to fitness after baby”

Postpartum fitness | Do’s and Don’ts

Postpartum weightlifting

Postpartum fitness is tough. It’s hard to know when to return to the gym, when to push, and when to rest.

It should go without saying that if you experienced complications during labor and delivery — episiotomy, c-section, etc. — your recovery and return to exercise will be much different than a woman who had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery.

That being said, here are some doctor- and industry official-approved list of do’s and don’ts for postpartum fitness. Continue reading “Postpartum fitness | Do’s and Don’ts”

Postpartum fitness | Breastfeeding and exercise

Snatching postpartum
Andrea Signor snatching with the Buband, a much appreciated extra support band for the girls.

A big concern for women hoping to return to the gym is how her workouts may impact breastfeeding. The old school way of thinking was that if a woman exercised, the lactic acid that built up would result in a sour tasting milk.

In his chapter on breastfeeding and exercising in “Exercising Through Your Pregnancy,” Dr. James F. Clapp writes, “The concern that regular exercise during lactation alters the quality and quantity of the breast milk had its origins in the dairy science literature, which indicated that even modest increases in physical activity decreased milk production in cows.”

Because breastfeeding moms are equivalent to cows. Continue reading “Postpartum fitness | Breastfeeding and exercise”