Mamas on Bedrest: How Do I Regain My Strength After Bedrest?

October 9th, 2013

Former Mama on Bedrest Zoya sent me this question:

“I was on strict bed rest for 5 and a half months of my pregnancy, though i successfully gave birth to my DD, who is a healthy and naughty one year old now, i do not seem to have gained back even half my muscle strength. I have been a regular gym and outdoors person all my life but since late walking up a flight of stairs seems to be a task. This frustrates me into trying more and more of cardio and pushing myself to do more but i just feel set back further into pain and weakness. Ive been to doctors who who suggest recovery takes time.. but now i feel old and sad all the time..n im barely 26 !”

It’s not uncommon for mamas to have a hard time regaining their pre-pregnancy level of fitness after prolonged bed rest. But its important not to overlook a potential physiologic reason for the problem. In this week’s Video Wednesday Vlog, I answer Zoya’s question and make a few suggestions that all Mamas on Bedrest and former Mamas on Bedrest should take to heart.

Mamas on Bedrest: Do You Have “Linguine Legs”?

March 8th, 2011

Bedrest Coach Darline Turner-Lee is offering mamas on bed rest a free webinar on  March 11, 2011 at 11am CST. The webinar will review the basics of bed rest exercise including getting into the correct position in bed, the use of pillows, the use of an exercise band to perform active and passive movements and a sampling of exercises mamas can do. To participate, send an e-mail to info@mamasonbedrest.com.

5 Tips to Enhance Your Post Bed Rest, Post Partum Walking Program.

July 22nd, 2010

As many of you know I have been traveling around the country with my kids visiting family and friends for the past several weeks. Early on I wrote a blog describing how many new mamas were working diligently to regain their pre-pregnancy physiques in a park in East Tennessee. These mamas were walking and while I wholeheartedly support their efforts, observing them prompted me to write Walking Gets Mama into Shape After Bedrest giving 4 tips on how to start a walking program after being a mama on bed rest.

I’ve thought about those mamas and the many others I’ve seen along my journey. The gentle strolls around the park are a good start, but if they want to enhance their effort, they should incorporate these 5 tips into their walking programs.

  1. Increase the duration of the workouts. Many new mamas, especially mamas who had been on bed rest prior to delivery, start out only able to walk for just a few minutes. But as you get stronger, try to exercise for longer durations.  Walking for 30-45 minutes daily at a moderate pace will increase cardiovascular health, increase leg muscle tone and will aid in weight loss when combined with a reduced calorie diet.
  2. Increase the intensity of the workouts. Now that you are stronger, press yourself a bit. Walk faster and see if you can cover the same distance in a shorter amount of time. Vary your route. If you typically walk in a flat park, try to find a route that has a few small hills. Increasing the intensity of your workouts will increase your cardiovascular health, improve your muscle tone and will increase your energy expenditure . This is important if your goal is to lose weight. To lose weight you must burn/expend more calories than your take in. So walking more intensely will burn more calories than strolling.Walking a more strenuous course will increase muscle tone in your legs. The more muscle you have, thttp://www.mamasonbedrest.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=1418he more calories you burn. Combined with a reduced calorie diet, you will be more likely to lose your pregnancy weight faster and keep it off.
  3. Practice contracting and holding in your abdominal muscles while you walk. One of the most common complaints of post partum women is the “poochie belly”. The abdominal muscles are so stretched from pregnancy that they must be rehabilitated not only to regain the flat pre-pregnancy belly but also to improve posture and to increase core muscle strength. While walking, draw your abdominal muscles in, pulling your navel to your spine. DO NOT HOLD YOUR BREATH!! Hold for 1-2 seconds and release. Repeat several times during your walk. Gradually increase the amount of time you are able to hold your abs in while you walk. With practice, you will be able to hold you abs in for an entire walk.
  4. Do Kegel Exercises while you walk. Kegels are also important exercises to help strengthen the core as well as the pelvic floor muscles. Several repetitions should be performed several times a day in order to strengthen the pelvic floor, strengthen the core, reduce incontinence and reduce the incidence of organ prolapse. Our blog post Kegels: Essential Exercises for Mamas on Bed Rest gives a full explanation of the benefits of Kegels as well as how to do them.
  5. Get Support. Numerous studies have shown that exercise and weight loss efforts are enhanced when people, especially women, have a partner. When I was walking in the park and watching the mamas walk, I was really pleased to see a dad walking alongside a new mama. While working out with a significant other can have its challenges, it can also draw a couple closer, an added benefit for new parents who may be feeling stressed.

What are your tips for working out post partum? Please share with our community by posting in the comments section below.

Reading this while on bed rest? Wondering what exercises you can do? Sign up for our free e-newsletter and receive a free download of 10 lower body exercises, stretches and Kegel exercise instructions.

Want a full body workout you can do while on bed rest? Order Bedrest Fitness today! Bedrest Fitness is a set of modified prenatal exercises a woman on bed rest can do while on bed rest. Order now and get free shipping, a $6 savings!