The following comes from our wonderful Mamalates teacher, Rachel Brinker, on her blog.
Many women do not feel a sense of "normalcy" in their body in the weeks and months following pregnancy and birth. At six weeks postpartum, a woman* may receive an "all-clear" from their medical provider to return to normal physical activities, but she may feel unsure about how exactly to do that, since very little in her body feels normal to her. Breast changes (in weight, function, tenderness, size, etc), a soft belly that feels empty and rearranged, an abdominal incision for some, a pelvic floor that is still recovering from the marathons of pregnancy and childbirth, and the difference between the daily activities of caring for a newborn versus the daily activities of a person who is pregnant, versus the daily activities of that person before she got pregnant--each of these brings a huge physical change, and thus, a huge change in the way the core functions in providing stability, balance, and support, for that body.
The body, amazingly adaptable and resilient, adjusts to these changes, but over time. How long does it take? It is different for each person, but for many people, the physical adjustment period post-birth feels much longer than six weeks. Many people find that it takes closer to a year to feel like they've recovered an internal sense of "normalcy" within their own body.
Moving too quickly back into "regular" activities (running, cross-training, weight lifting, even some types of yoga) in the postpartum year without first building back up to a strong and stable core, and understanding how to stabilize joints that are still feeling "loose" from pregnancy hormones, can create more problems down the road, such as hip, knee, and back pain, diastasis recti (the larger-than-optimal separation of connective tissues between the right and left sides of the abdominal muscles), pelvic pain or prolapse, and incontinence.
Mamalates with Rachel Brinker is a natural movement and Pilates-based class designed to meet you where you are--a postpartum mom, with everything that comes with that-- and offers a opportunity to build core strength that not only fits well into your life (pre-crawling babies can come with you!) and your schedule, but also acknowledging the body you have in this moment: a body that is in a state of flux and contraction, or returning, after a vast and miraculous expansion.
The postpartum time is unique-- there is no other naturally occurring event in life that creates such drastic physical change to the body in such a condensed amount of time as pregnancy. It is important that the exercise classes or movement practices you use during this time acknowledge and understand the common issues and potential risks for injury that exist in a newly postpartum body. In Mamalates, the exercises and movements you learn are offered with the intention of seizing this moment of flux and change in the physical body to optimize your core strength, your balance and alignment, and to alleviate some common symptoms of this time of life. In taking the opportunity to slow down, realign, and rediscover core movements that may have felt distant, impossible, or dis-connected, we hope to make the re-entry into "regular activities" an experience that comes with ease, less discomfort, and less risk of injury.
Mamalates classes at Live Well Studio are safe for all bodies, especially those recovering from cesarean birth, birth injuries, and those dealing with diastasis recti, incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse.
Come move with us!
*Not all pregnant and birthing people identify as women. All birthing bodies are welcome in Mamalates classes, regardless of gender.