Top 10 Things I learned About the Human Body From My Pre and Post Natal Experience

  1. It’s impossible to have good posture without core strength.
  2. The “core” is not just abs – it’s also the glutes, lower back, obliques, upper back and lats…it’s the whole torso actually.
  3. Exercising on little sleep is a recipe for disaster! 
  4. If you are too tired to officially workout, just sit on the floor and do some simple stretches…maybe a gentle spine twist or hang out in child’s pose for a few minutes. 
  5. I didn’t feel as though being fit helped me with labor, BUT being fit helped me “bounce back from baby” more easily. The labor part…whoa (!)…I think women are born with a deep strength, mental and physical, that gets unearthed during labor and delivery. It really can’t be “trained” for. (Oh, I know I’m going to hear about this one)
  6. We put too much emphasis on dropping pregnancy pounds and not enough emphasis on restoring energy. I believe if you restore energy, you will drop the lbs without struggle. Many women are not given the chance to restore their energy because they have to return to a career too soon or don’t have enough child care support. 
  7. Are you tired all the time? Cold when your have 8 layers of clothing on?Out of breath more than you should be? You may be iron deficient. Anemia is rampant in American women and it need not be. Get more iron (spinach!) and watch yourself be so much stronger.
  8. Carrying excess weight – even if it’s temporary – is extremely demanding on one’s knees, ankles and feet. If someone is 10lbs or more beyond their ideal weight, hi-impact activities (like running) should be avoided because it’s likely to damage those areas, immediately or over time. Try low-impact activities like yoga, walking, spinning and swimming instead. 
  9.  I believe in chiropractors now. If you feel like your alignment is “off,” get an adjustment. (Some “naturopathic” doctors do alignment work too.)
  10. Women are undoubtedly the stronger sex. 

    I’m back teaching classes again and I feel very “mortal” as I am very achy the next day! But, on the flip side, I am learning so much by experiencing this process and my compassion for my fellow females has increased. Do you have anything to add to this list?  


7 Responses to “Top 10 Things I learned About the Human Body From My Pre and Post Natal Experience”

  1. Debbie Diesen Says:

    This is a good list. I particularly like your point suggesting that post-natal women focus on restoring energy rather than on dropping pounds. I think most new moms tend to feel pretty overwhelmed by the experience of adjusting to parenthood (or at least I did). Given everything else that’s going on for new moms, a specific expectation of post-natal weight loss or fitness level achievement can be stressful and discouraging. The goal of taking care of one’s self and restoring energy is a much more nurturing way to look at it. Thank you for that – I hope lots of expectant and new moms will read your list.

  2. Alyssa Says:


    (I worked out like a little maniac during both of my pregnancies. Did it help with labor and delivery, HECK NO!!!!! But it made me feel better, so that counts.)
    It’s bad enough that we expect new moms to be PERFECT mothers right away (and do do it all by themselves, with no help and no sleep), but the added pressure to lose the baby weight immediately is ridiculous and dangerous, especially if they are nursing.
    Great post!!!!!!

  3. Carrie Says:

    That is so true! New mothers need lots of TLC to rebuild the tremendous amount of energy that it takes to carry and deliver a baby. They need that village to help them out 🙂 instead of requiring they lose weight immediately.

    Great post, I hope lots of new moms hear your message!!

  4. Renee Says:

    Love the list, Ellen. Congratulations on your new baby and motherhood!

    I’ve given birth to my 6 children (from the time I was 25 until I was 38) and I learned that the body “bounces back” much easily in my 20s than in my 30s. I learned that even though I may have been able to exercise up until the delivery date, that my body truly did go through something strenuous and crazy on the inside because after my recovery time, when I’d *think* I was ready to exercise again, my body was showing that I wasn’t nearly as strong as I thought I was. The first time I tried planks post-partum, it was like I was in a major earthquake. I could see that a nice child’s pose was in order :).

    The one pregnancy (at age 27) that I had access to the YMCA and swam throughout, the nurse was all excited about an hour after my delivery and showed me something protruding at the right of my abdomen, about the size of an orange. She told me that was my uterus and that it was already contracting and shifting to it’s rightful position. She told me that doesn’t happen that quickly and readily often and attributed it to my lap swimming. I never saw that happen with other forms of exercise. All so intriguing.

  5. Emilie Says:

    Great list. Love your videos Ellen! I own them all and just did Slim and Sculpt this morning. One thing to add to #7 on the list. Another reason may be problems with your thyroid function. It is common with women after childbirth to have problems like this. Simple blood tests will rule it out – and ask for an antibodies test too. Thanks to a friend with thyroid problems, I found out that I too have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Go check your thyroids ladies!

  6. Lainie Says:

    I’ve had 2 babies and I’m pregnant with my 3rd now. One thing I’ve learned (granted this is only from my anecdotal evidence) is that my body bounced back much more quickly and I felt much better postpartum after my second birth–which was all natural. The first birth was induced and very medical–epidural and needed a vacuum extractor. Of course, I also had 8 hours of pushing in that first birth experience, so I’m sure that didn’t help.

    Love the list–will come back to it as I waddle along in this pregnancy.

  7. nicole Says:

    Natural childbirth, breast feeding, and doing pilates and yoga while pregnant, made a HUGE difference in how I felt durring the pregnancy, labor and postpartum. I did not do these things with my first child but I did with the second two. My energy was greatly increased, I dieted easier because I didn’t always feel hungry like I had before, and I lost weight much easier. I do not reccomend having your children too close together. I heard it takes the body about 3 years to fully recover. And my last two were “irish twins”. One right after the other. After my third, it took a while for my hips to recover. I always felt like I had sand stuck in my hip joints. Yoga helped A LOT with that. I will say that I still have extra skin from my first child (I gained about 60lbs) and pilates nor cardio seem to help that, though I have heard it works for many women. But Ellen is right- Energy over Pounds!!! You need energy to keep up with the kids! ANd Emilie is right about having your thyroid checked, but also look into your post partum birth control (especially if you’re breast feeding, the BC has a different hormone balance than when you’re not) You would be suprised the damage birth control can do to your body.

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