How to Measure Postpartum Recovery

There’s one question many moms are desperate to answer: Am I fixed yet?

Postpartum recovery is a strong focus for moms, which is great. But sometimes the places moms look for answers fail to give them the definitive reassurance they are looking for.

If you want to know if you’ve succeeded in restoring your body after having a baby, here are three ways you WON’T find the answer:

  • By over analysing your gap (the fingers’ width of diastasis recti)
  • By continually stepping on the scale and checking your weight
  •  By taking regular measurements of your body (waist, thighs, etc.)

Checking your progress in pounds, inches and fingers’ width are not helpful. Yes, you need to do it at the start to benchmark where you are – and at intervals on your fitness journey. But don’t obsess.

The numbers don’t matter.

The way you can really tell if you are on the road to recovery is by asking yourself how you feel and considering what you can do. The answers all come from your head and your heart, no measuring tape required.

Ask yourself when you’d last experienced a ‘red flag’ that signifies a body under strain or not functioning right. Wee leakage, pelvic pain, backache and the doming of your abdomen as you get out of bed are all signs that core strength remains compromised. The foundations of healing has not been put in place and without this groundwork, your progress is halted.

Consider how you feel – does your body feel strong and energized? Is the mid-line of your abdomen firming up? Can you pick your child up without pain? Is your alignment right? Are your muscles supple and pain-free?

If the answer is yes to these questions, then you don’t need to perform a diastasis test or tangle your body in a measuring tape. You are well on your way (if not completely there) to postpartum recovery.

What you are aiming for is core stability and body confidence. You want to be able to run, jump and lift your kids without any embarrassing leakage. You want your body to feel strong (and not like your innards are about to fall out). These are the true markers of a restored postpartum body.

Instead of measuring everything, focus your energy on realigning, walking and strengthening. Tune into your body’s signals, rather than getting hung up on the circumference of your belly. Trimming away a bit of blubber is the easy bit – getting fit and strong is what you need to tackle first.

Measuring is a bore and it can be deflating, destroying your motivation to continue with your fitness plan. The fingers’ width measurement of diastasis recti is not the most scientific or reliable test and every time you do it, you are raising your intra abdominal pressure, jack-knifing your body, doing the opposite of what will help your healing. So do it as little as possible.

If you really want to recover your body after childbirth, just get sucked into all the things we know will help. Finding and engaging your core, breathing, gently using your core with every movement, twisting, squatting, walking briskly, adjusting your alignment and feeding your body with nutritious food and water. Taking little steps and making small changes towards a nourished body, stronger core and pelvic floor.

This is a plan that WILL restore you after childbirth and your body will tell you that it’s feeling much better.

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Wendy Powell
Wendy Powell specializes in the pre and postpartum fitness industry, particularly in pelvic and abdominal reconnection and restoration after birth. The UK-based Mother of two, is the founder of the internationally recognized and sought after MuTu System program. It is fresh, personal, progressive and motivational, and it gives Moms the answers, guidance and support they need to restore body confidence inside and out.
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