When I first had my baby, I imagined I’d take it easy for the first few weeks, then get right back into workouts after I was cleared for exercise at my 6 week checkup. At my checkup, I was cleared- and as a runner, boy I could not wait. I had felt incredibly off since giving birth and wanted to feel like "me" again after having a baby. So, I jumped right back in, anxious to lose the baby weight.
First, I started doing things like yoga and some simple weight exercises. Then, out of desperation to 'feel/look like myself again,' I had the genius idea of jumping into a hard core strength and conditioning program I had used for years that had always helped me lose weight. It’s also a program that is meant for athletes or people who are already fit.
Not so great for a lady who just had a baby.
It didn’t take long before the loosey-goosey feeling I had in my joints gave way to actual pain- in my hips, my back, my groin muscles...pretty much everything hurt. This time I chalked up the postpartum pain to the "I just had a baby, this is normal" explanation so many women give themselves, not realizing that none of it was normal. Common, maybe - but not normal.
How to Take Control of Your Postpartum Health
By this point, I was writing down a lot of health info for my baby, so I started jotting down my postpartum pain symptoms in the same journal. When I felt them, what seemed to trigger them, what kind of pain it felt like.
Around 4 months postpartum I finally went to my OB because I had reached the point where daily function was really difficult, really painful, and my journaling didn't lie- I wasn't feeling great. I showed her my journal, and she suggested I go see a women's health physical therapist.
So I went.
It turned out I had a whole host of issues- some rare (osteitis pubis, common in hockey players and soccer players...and apparently the occasional lady who just had a baby), some common (diastasis recti). But what I gained from going was an education on what actually happens to your body after having a baby, how important postpartum care is, and the tools to start healing.
I now know there are many women out there who are unknowingly suffering because they just don’t know what is normal and what isn’t after having a baby.
So how do you make sure that you are doing things that are healing and safe for your postpartum body? How do you know if you might have something going on that needs addressing?
This is where a Duo Diary can help you. Here are some tips on what to write down in your journal so that when you go to a healthcare professional, you know exactly what to tell them:
Do you hurt after sitting, standing, walking, wearing certain shoes?
Are you in pain? What kind of pain? Throbbing, aching, stabbing?
What's your pain level?
Do you feel sort of weak, or just not like your old self physically but can't really figure out why?
Pay attention and jot down what feels off, what specifically doesn't feel like "you."
Having this info is a goldmine when you walk into a doctor or physical therapists' office. These are all details that can help your providers figure out what your issue is and get you on track to healing.
What have you noticed since having a baby?
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