Our Dega Osteotomy

Today we are exactly 3 months out from Maura’s Dega osteotomy. Watching her run, jump, and play the past few weeks you would have no idea that she even had surgery.

We found out in November that her right hip had not improved and was in fact getting worse. There was also debate about whether her left hip also required surgery or not, in the end it did not – but is still being monitored as she grows. We were told any time between then and April/May would be fine, but given we had also just found out I was expecting babe number two – we decided to get the procedure done pretty quickly. The date was set for January 17th. Similar to our previous hospital in Oregon, surgery times are determined by age of patient and set the day before. Luckily, we once again got the first spot of the day – making fasting much easier on little tummies. We were cut off from food and drinks other than clear liquid at midnight, and all liquid at 4am… which basically meant cut off after bedtime. The drastic change in our routine that morning made the fasting pretty easy. We arrived at 7am for our 8:30am surgery time.


I can’t say enough good things about Golisano Children’s hospital in Rochester. As soon as we got into the pre-op room, Maura was given a bucket of toys to play with that entertained her throughout conversations with the anesthesia team etc. The Child Life Specialist was amazing. She was given her choice of ‘hat’ to wear in the OR – Her choices were My Little Pony, Minnie Mouse, or

IMG_2104Frozen. After changing into OR ‘pajamas’, she decorated her anesthesia mask with stickers (also of her choice) AND decorated a smaller version for the Doll she brought with her. She then chose a chapstick smell she liked and lined her mask with it so it would be the smell she had going to sleep for surgery. They gave her a ‘magic wand’ – a toy than spun with lights – to carry with her on our walk to the OR and she used it to open the OR doors. I was allowed to accompany her the entire time until she was sound asleep, and her dad and I were in recovery with her by the time she woke up.

The surgery itself wasn’t too long. I’d say (now I’m forgetting) about 2-2.5 hours total. The did the dega osteotomy on her right hip, but also injected dye into her left and examined it’s coverage in all range of motion to verify that it didn’t require surgery that we had talked about before. It took Maura about 3 hours to wake up fully from anesthesia. 


She would open her eyes, and almost immediately go back to sleep. I actually think she just felt too yucky to want to wake up. They offered two different doses of pain meds as the epidural was going to wear off, and I naively chose the lower dose since she didn’t seem to be in pain. I didn’t realize that we then had to wait 4 hours for another dose of higher strength and that wait was brutal – and I think avoidable had I known. I just didn’t know that the epidural hadn’t fully worn off yet when I made the choice. We first were put in a semi private room – neither child was comfortable pain wise – Maura was in a crib that I couldn’t fit in with no other option for sleeping – the worst part was the bathroom was for the other patient, and I was supposed to use the one down the hall. I told the nurses we’d like to be switched as soon as a private room opened up due to the bathroom situation because I wouldn’t be leaving Maura’s side (and being pregnant, I needed the bathroom!). They got us moved within 2 hours, and after watching my pregnant self climb into her crib to snuggle and keep her calm – they switched her to a regular sized bed. Although the experience started out rough, they were wonderful at accommodating us as soon as they knew we were uncomfortable. We upped Maura’s pain dose and immediately she felt better. We also chose to alternate between the heavier stuff and Ibuprofen. She was taking meds every 2-3 hours, and although she hated it and that was traumatic for her – she clearly felt a lot better on them. The first night I stayed up late with her and we watched Frozen on TV until about 1am and then she went to sleep, other than the wake ups for meds which typically were brief. 

The next day, she got her IV and her catheter out (a bit traumatic, but she did well). PT also came in to meet with us, and try out a wheelchair. Despite being exhausted and probably in pain, Maura loved being out of bed and we got to visit the hospital play room. About 3 hours later, our very own wheelchair was delivered right to our room that she’d be using for the next month. She took a long nap, and we spent most of the day reading and watching movies.











There was a snowstorm fast approaching – and we discussed discharge options. We decided to decrease her med doses and stay one more night. We also stretched her meds a bit more over night to let her rest. She tolerated it very well and we were up and ready to go early the next day (even though discharge always takes a while).



Preparing for a Dega Osteotomy

When we found out about the Dega, we were devastated. Hip dysplasia is such a roller coaster or good news, followed by bad news, and lots of let’s wait and see. For an explanation of the procedure check out the International Hip Dysplasia Institute’s website.

Maura was 2 and 9 months at the time of surgery, so our preparations were age specific and would have been much different had she been younger or older. Our prep for her closed reduction as a baby involved lots of us buying and researching, but there wasn’t much in terms of preparing her emotionally. This time, Maura’s emotional health was as important to me as her physical. There seemed to be a fine line or letting her know what to expect, but not scaring her or making her nervous in advance.

Several things I found online suggested telling a child about an upcoming surgery one day per year old they are in advance… Since Maura was 2, by that I’d have told her 2 days before hand. I decided to give her more time. I told her the Monday before surgery and her surgery was on a Thursday. I started by telling her that Thursday was a big day and that we’d be going to a hospital to have her hip fixed. She knows she has a ‘wonky’ hip that didn’t grow right – that’s why she needs so many x-rays. I told her that we’d go see Dr. Cook and he’d fix her hip and we’d have a sleep over at the hospital for a few nights while it started to heal, and immediately pulled out Hope the Hippo to read. Hope the Hippo has hip dysplasia, and was written by parents in the hip dysplasia community in order to help us prepare our kids for procedures. I liked the book a lot, but it didn’t quite fit everything Maura was going to experience. SO… I taped several pages together to avoid unnecessary fear, haha. Hope wakes up in a spica, and there are several pages specific to a cast and cast change and removal. We knew in advance we were going to have an abduction pillow and not a spica. I skipped some sentences here and there, but Maura seemed to understand a bit more. We also read Mr Roger’s book on visiting the hospital. It was definitely dated, but the real photographs were amazing at helping with what to expect.

We bought a wheelchair for Maura’s doll, so that she could see exactly what she’d have. I avoided saying that she wouldn’t be able to walk, but phrased it as she’d have a special chair with wheels to use instead of walking while she healed. She’d seen people in wheelchairs, but mostly in passing at the grocery store or mall. I made an abduction pillow out of a sponge for her doll, and found doll hospital gowns on Etsy. The combination was perfect. We played hospital and acted out Hope the Hippo using her doll, all the way down to using a bottle nipple as an anesthesia mask. I made a special hospital blanket for her to take with her, and used the extra fabric to match one for the doll too…. overkill? Probably.

Our home is pretty accessible, but my husband build a wheelchair ramp up the few steps in our garage. We probably could have managed without it – carrying her in from the car, then carrying in the chair – but that chair is HEAVY. Add in pregnancy, and I was glad I had the ramp. We also turned her carseat forward facing so that her legs would fit in a straight position, and put a large box on the floor to support her legs if needed. The angle of her abduction pillow was not very wide and she fit in her Diono Radian perfectly. The Dr. did say if needed she could have taken the pillow off in the car – but I avoided taking it off when possible because I didn’t want her to think it was an option! (Which she figured out on her own anyways but later).

Other things I bought – new activity books, lots of sit still toys (magna tiles, duplos, figurines), a lap desk from the craft store, a reading pillow for her to sit against. Stock piled pain meds in different flavors, both liquid and chewable, comfy dresses, knee socks, leggings that were a size too big so the waist band hit above her incision.

All in all, I’d most likely prepare the exact same way again if we did it over (which I’m praying we don’t need to).



Pregnancy – What I’m doing differently the second time (So far)

There are lots of blog posts and articles written about how a second (or third or fourth) pregnancy may differ from a first, but this is more how I plan to incorporate some of the things I’ve learned since my first that may help set me up for a better experience.

I stopped running and all high impact exercise to protect my pelvic floor. I know a lot of women who run right up to the day the delivery, and they seem to be just fine. Other women suffer pelvic floor issues like prolapse or incontinence after delivery. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to predict who is going to have trouble afterwards and who isn’t. This is one of those times that I’d say weigh the risk vs reward. What is the reward for running? Is it ego or praise? It’s difficult to step away from something that is such a part of who you are, but it’s temporary vs potentially forever. If reasons to run were purely to stay in shape, there are plenty of other ways to stay in shape during pregnancy. I know a lot of runner friends are rolling their eyes at me, but if you want to be a runner forever you need to protect your body now. Your pelvic floor is already working overtime to hold up a growing fetus, can it also handle impact on top of that load? Who knows.

I stopped single leg exercises in my workouts, and monitor them in my daily actions as a preventative to the Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction I experienced starting at 18 weeks last time. This one, I don’t think every pregnant woman needs to be this careful, but having a history of PSD, I’m not risking it again – it was miserable. Single leg activities, or motion that separates the legs can aggravate it. Ex: lunges, step ups, single leg dead lifts or single leg squats. Once aggravated, it’s tough to calm and easily flares up again. If you do notice ANY pain in your pubic bone, monitor how single leg activities feel and cut them out if needed.

Focus on breath and breathing strategies during exercise and lifting reps to protect my pelvic floor. Exhale on exertion. I also try to breath into my sides and back to more equally disperse the pressure, rather than belly breathing which could put extra pressure on a weakened abdominal wall (think Diastasis recti, unavoidable but we can minimize some strain). Along with that, I’ve been monitoring my belly for any coning during exercise OR daily movements. It seems to be when I’m not thinking ‘ab exercise’ that it cones – but when I focus I can better manage the pressure. I often notice it sitting up from laying in the tub! This also made me aware that it may be happening when I get out of bed or move off the ground too….

I plan to hire a doula. I have a consult set up with one to see if she’s a good fit, but will fill you in once I know more.

Plan to visit my Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist several times before delivery. One of the suspected issues with Maura’s delivery was tense pelvic floor muscles. Rather than relaxing and letting her descend, I tensed up with the pain making it difficult for her to come through. My PT and I have worked on relaxation exercises in the past, but I want to verify that they’re working as they should. (FYI It’s common to have a tight, hypertonic, pelvic floor…. this doesn’t mean strong! Tight muscles are weak muscles, and tightness can contribute to incontinence later as well. In these cases the kegels your OB may tell you to do aren’t going to do anything but potentially make it worse!)

I’m also monitoring my nutrition a bit more and switched to a food based prenatal with folate instead of folic acid. I’m supplementing Vitamin D (I’m insufficient – and not even sure it was checked last time), and monitoring my iron levels while eating lots of meat to try and keep them up. I ended up anemic by the end of my last pregnancy, and critically anemic after delivery on the verge of needing a blood transfusion (According to my medical records, I was offered a transfusion but turned it down….. but I don’t remember it ever being offered to me). I think the severe anemia significantly slowed my recovery. I also intend on doing some more research on postpartum nutrition.

I’m sure more things will come up as I progress, but these are the things I’m already doing/planning.

As for a pregnancy update – the first trimester was rough. I feel a bit better now but still am lagging on the energy. I feel far larger than I did last pregnancy at this point… I don’t think I was actually showing at all yet. I like to think my larger belly is making lots of extra room for healthy hip development, I can dream right? More on that, but it looks like if babe is a girl we’re looking at 50/50 odds, with a bit less for a boy.

Week 9, 12, 16…. I think these make my bump look smaller than it in- I pulled out the maternity jeans at 12 weeks and starting with the maternity tops now! You can see my first trimester with Maura here.

When your child asks “Am I fat?” How will you respond?

A study conducted by Common Sense Media Research, Children, Teens, Media, and Body Image, found the following statistics:

  • One third of girls ages 5-6 think their bodies are less thin than ideal.
    • This goes up to 55-59% of girls between the ages of 6-8.
  • 25% of 7 year olds have tried some type of dieting.

As a parent, especially of a daughter, I anticipate that body dissatisfaction may come up at some point or another, despite trying my best to raise a body confident daughter. (Read my post: How to Raise a (Body) Confident Daughter, to read more about my thoughts on this).

A scenario was brought up in a podcast I was recently listening to: Your child asks you, “Am I fat?” How do you respond?

If not prepared, the gut reaction may be to respond “No!” or “You’re perfect just the way you are!” But have you considered what those answers imply? What consequences do those responses create? A quick “No, of course not!” might end the conversation where it is, and give some temporary relief, but those responses essentially say “You’re good for now” or “You’re not fat, yet” Telling a child they are not fat stops the conversation. Unfortunately, it also takes away the opportunity to discuss body diversity, health, nutrition, lifestyle choices, bullying, media influence, just to name a few.  Regardless of the weight of your child, I think all of the same conversations are important.

So how will I respond when the day comes that Maura asks me “Mom, am I fat?”

My first step will be to find out where this question is coming from. “Why do you think you might be fat?” Her answer can dictate what she needs to hear.

Maybe someone called her or someone else fat on the playground (conversation about bullying), or she is seeing magazines or social media pushing a thin-ideal culture (discuss advertising tactics, edited photos), maybe puberty brought on weight gain (talk about body diversity, nutrition, health). I can’t imagine all the scenarios that a child might wonder “Am I fat?” But thinking about this question as an opportunity for conversation, and not a bullet to dodge, makes me feel more confident in my ability to guide Maura through some of life’s tough spots.

I hope she never looks at cupcakes any other way.
I hope she never looks at cupcakes any other way.

What I Learned by Requesting My Labor and Delivery Notes…

Maura’s birth story has had a strong impact on my life. It has impacted my health, priorities, interests, and work. I’ve shared my story of Maura’s birth on the blog, and added to it as the story seemed to drag on long after I had Maura in my arms. I’m not even sure when that story ended and life got back to (new) normal. (I want to say around 15 months postpartum)

Throughout the last 2+ years, I’ve talked to numerous women about their birth experiences. Although I’ve heard stories similar to mine, and others very traumatic, the majority of stories I hear are relatively smooth sailing, even if they diverged slightly from the plan. Each time I shared my story,  I noticed my feelings surrounding it become more powerful. I was jealous of the smooth deliveries and the friends who returned to running or their old hobbies so quickly. I wanted to feel empowered by my birthing experience, but I felt defeated.

I tried to determine what went wrong, and who was to blame… because if there wasn’t something or someone to blame, how could I prevent the same story from happening again? If we couldn’t prevent it, how would I go forward and even consider having another child? If I were to have the same experience again, would I be able to handle it emotionally? I don’t know. I still don’t know.

What felt like as soon as Maura was born, people began asking when we would have another child. The first year or so, I always responded “Ha! Whenever I recover from having the first.” At first people would laugh, but then over time they looked confused, so I stopped making that joke. I got the point – people didn’t understand how I wasn’t recovered yet and not everyone was looking for a long conversation about pelvic floor health and birth trauma. This got me thinking, my daughter is two, I am 34, and I am physically healed. Maura is very busy, but overall a pretty easy kid. I have no reason to postpone having another child, other than the emotions that become stirred up thinking about my birthing experiences. I need to heal emotionally from the events surrounding Maura’s birth, and if it hasn’t naturally happened in two years – I have to do something about it myself. So I requested my medical records. (labor and delivery notes, progress notes, labs, etc.)

I read the notes over several times. Put them down. Read through them several more times. Had Greg read them. They didn’t tell a traumatic story. I’m not sure what I expected to read, but what I got was a step by step emotionless description of a pretty typical sounding birth. Had I made the experience more traumatic than it had actually been? Am I exaggerating the negatives in my story? No, I don’t think do.

I picked apart those notes and googled the heck out of every number and detail. It verified that several incidents that I remember very clearly did in fact happen (I pushed for a long time, I tore extensively, and lost a significant amount of blood) – It was not an easy delivery, but when described medically (without any emotion) it didn’t sound as traumatic as ‘it should‘ based on my feelings now. I even went back and read the Birth story that I wrote, it didn’t sound traumatic either. And oddly, thinking back to writing it – I didn’t feel like it was traumatic to me then. So where did this anxiety surrounding the story come from? Postpartum. I had an awful year postpartum. 

After Maura was born, I was in rough shape. I had “an uncountable” number of stitches according to my doctor. I hurt. I remember not thinking I could make it from the hospital room to the car without fainting. At Maura’s 2 day appointment, our lactation consultant assumed Maura was born via cesarean because I looked like I had major surgery, I barely could walk into the room. My nipples were also in awful shape. Maura had an awful latch that pretty much tore my boobs apart. I never reported it because it didn’t hurt as much as everything else. The LC had never seen someone nursing with such damage – and Maura ate every 1.5 hours as a newborn…. About a week postpartum my stitches became infected. Around 3 weeks my swelling went down enough to feel those stupid stitches, I hurt even more. At my 6 week check, I was NOT cleared for exercise and told to wait “maybe another month” to have sex. My tears still had not healed completely. I reported feeling a prolapse and started PT at 8 weeks for 2nd-3rd degree cystocele. I continued PT for almost 8 months. I really struggled emotionally with the slow pace of recovery and wondering if I’d ever heal. I saw specialists, tried every option and was pretty much convinced that I’d need surgery. During this same time I had a series of abnormal pap smears that led to a biopsy being taken – it was benign and confirmed as “changes due to chronic inflammation” – which oddly made sense, because around 3-4 months postpartum my joints had also become inflamed. I think I was at a doctors office every week all year. Add in the start of Maura’s hip journey and I can easily see the that the traumatic part of my story was not the birth, it was the entire year after. 

I did learn that I was anemic when I got to the hospital. Due to the blood loss (approx 1,000mL), I was critically anemic on discharge. This was why I felt so weak in the weeks to come, as well as contributed to my slow rate of healing. A blood transfusion was mentioned, but in my foggy state I refused (according to the notes, I don’t remember being offered). In the future, I can definitely monitor my iron more closely during pregnancy. And now I know the consequence of not having a transfusion – I might be more open if that were to come up again.

My goal was to use the notes to determine what went wrong, and what I can do to prevent a similar story in the future. Other than the anemia, they didn’t point out anything crazy that I didn’t know. No one is to blame, and nothing specific went wrong. They did however, give me the opportunity to review, think clearly, and begin to determine what I can do differently next time around. I’ve got a list, but I’ll save that for another post. Should you request your Labor and Delivery notes? Maybe, maybe not, but I’m glad I did. I learned that my focus was on the birth experience itself, and maybe I should be looking to my preparation for labor and creating a postpartum care plan next time rather than just a birth plan.

I also feel the need to say – I’m NOT pregnant. I need to know that I am completely healed physically and emotionally before wrapping my head around the idea.




Posture, Breathing, and Postpartum Injury Prevention


I like to think that I was in shape leading up to, and during pregnancy. I was running consistently before, and until 18 weeks pregnant (stopped due to pubic symphysis dysfunction), and lifted weights 2-3 times a week, I never stopped walking or moving my body. So why did I end up with an injured spasmy back on several occasions? Why did my prolapse persist long after my doctors predicted? I’m learning that it may have had more to do with my posture and alignment, than with my fitness or strength.

Let’s start with pregnancy posture’s effect on the back. During pregnancy, a woman is forced to carry a significant load of weight in the front of her body. The weight of the belly and breasts might round her shoulders and upper back forward. Her back arches in attempt to balance the weight in front of her. While this load increases, her abdominal muscles stretch and become less effective.  Her back muscles tighten in order to hold her upright and work overtime without the help of her abs for stability. She may shift her hips forward and clench her glutes to compensate (a permanently clenched muscle is a weak muscle.) Each woman is different, but the one thing that is the same is that there is a major muscle imbalance between front and the back after that baby load is gone. What does this imbalance mean? It means that every time a postpartum woman bends over, picks up her baby, lugs her baby in it’s carseat (the worst!), or reaches for something in front of her, her overworked back muscles are put at risk. It might take time to retrain and strengthen the abs after their extended rest, but there are changes that can be made to protect the back in the mean time.

Other common injuries postpartum women suffer from are diastasis recti (DR) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Both of these are in part caused by weak/stretched/damaged connective tissues and mismanaged intra-abdominal pressure.  DR is a separation of abdominal muscles due to weak connective tissue that then may bulge out under pressure, and POP being the decent of pelvic organs due to weak supporting ligaments and tissue that may bulge down under pressure. We can’t always fix the damage, but we can make postural and breathing changes to better regulate internal pressure that often increases the severity of both conditions and prevents healing.

OK. So how do we protect ourselves. Fix our posture and breath. Easy? Some changes are, some changes aren’t. Here are the easy ones:

  1. Make sure you’re practicing 360 breathing as often as possible. If we practice something only once or twice a day for a a few seconds, it’s easy to fall back into our normal shallow breathing patterns. You should feel your ribs expand in every direction (including your back), and you should feel your breath go all the way down to your pelvic floor. If your pelvic floor expands on your inhale – it will automatically contract on exhale – therefore strengthening it. A good 360 breath also evenly distributes pressure! If you pull your belly in on an inhale – the pressure that would have gone to your belly may redirect as excessive pressure down on your pelvic floor. Alternatively, breathing only into your belly (and not ribs) puts pressure against the abdominal wall every single breath preventing a DR from healing.
  2. Cue proper posture. Slouching, slumping, over arching backs, tucking bums, etc. don’t just cause aches and pains. Poor posture can limit 360 breathing and alter intra-abdominal pressure, it also can contribute to muscle imbalances and therefore puts people at risk for injury. Correcting posture can take a lot of work and specialized exercises, especially if poor posture has been present long term. Luckily, there are a few cues to help you get in better posture now.
  • ‘Imagine a string pulling up from your pubic bone through the crown of your head’
  • ‘Pretend you are ease dropping on a conversation taking place behind you’
  • ‘Stack your ribs over your pelvis’ (You want your ribs to aim for your hip bones, opposed to flaring out as seen when women thrust their chests forward)

3. Focus on both breathing and posture in ALL of your movements. Below are some of the most common movements that new moms do repeatedly – that we can focus on.

Lifting the baby. 

The tendency is to let the back round when we bend and not take breathing into consideration at all. The problem is that this posture puts strain on isolated back muscles and prevents a deep breath that would engage the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. This lack of engagement puts both at risk of extra pressure.

What we should do is keep our backs nice and straight (squat or bend the knees if needed) take a deep inhale in preparation, and begin our exhale just before we exert ourselves. The exhale engages our pelvic floor and abs so that we don’t end up putting extra pressure on them.

Other controllable things to consider:

Raise the height of your changing table so that you’re not bending, or change where you change the baby so the the muscles worked are different each time.

Bring the baby close to your body before standing up. This alters the center of gravity and decreases the load on your back. (This was huge for me when Maura was placed in her cast. She could no longer be changed on our changing table and gained 5 pounds overnight, literally… This was also the second time I strained my back. If I knelt next to her on the floor, pulled her onto my lap, then stood up from a squat – my back was spared.)

Baby Carrying (with and without carriers)

The tendency here is to let posture go out the window.

With a newborn lacking head control women often lean back and let their hips go forward – this is a great angle for the baby but not for your abs/back/pelvic floor.

With a bigger baby and toddler it’s common to stick one hip out to support the weight, and even worse many women favor one side which leads the major muscle imbalances (and eventually rotational scoliosis in my case… oops!)

Often with a baby carrier, we feel like it’s easier on our bodies – but if the straps are too lose women can end up tensing the shoulders and back. If the waist/hip band is too low or loose she may end up with the same lean back, hips forward position to support the new baby. If the carrier is too tight, it may limit moms ability to breath deeply.

The best thing to do here is be aware of your posture and how carrying your child alters it. Do your best to remain up tall with the same cues as above. Change the position you have your child in frequently and rely on your arms (instead of your core) as often as possible. – Best to start that with your tiny newborn than attempt the change with your 30 lb toddler… holy arm burn!

Pushing a stroller

Keep yourself up tall, ribs over pelvis. Pushing the stroller with arms extended may shift posture by encouraging you to stick your bum out or bend at the waist. Keeping your elbows nice and close to your sides and again relying on your arms will protect you.

Lugging a baby in a car seat

I have no advice. I think I may try to avoid the click in baby seat if we have another round. I can’t think of any way to lift and lug this combo that is safe. If you must do it, remember the exhale on effort to protect yourself. Try to limit the distance the car seat is carried. Use a stroller even when it’s less convenient. I definitely am guilty of lugging the car seat only in and out of doctor appointments, and even through parking lots into stores etc. Thinking back, I easily could have cut down on that! Live and Learn.

The postpartum period is not easy on a women’s body. Hopefully some of this information can make your postpartum experience free of injury!

Coming soon will be a post on ‘Why I requested my Birth Records’ and I also noticed I have a half of a post written on the end of our Maple Syruping adventures that I never finished….. It’ll be long past season when I get around to it, but I’ll get there!



First Exercises Postpartum

Three weeks into my Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist course and I love it! It is incredibly informative and I wish I had this knowledge two years ago after I had Maura. It makes me even more excited to get working with moms (new and old) in person again.

Our first week we discussed the early postpartum period (the first 4 months). The biggest difference here, compared to what seems to be common practice, is that we’re not categorizing our fitness abilities into clear cut timelines, just because you gave birth 6 weeks ago doesn’t make you able to go for a run. Before even considering impact exercise you need to heal, strengthen, and correct your body. It takes about 4 months for your ligaments to tighten back up OR until you’re down to 3 or less nursing sessions a day! For me – that wouldn’t have been until about 18 months postpartum! Even with a prolapse my PT had told me running was safe…. that might not have been the case. Luckily, my body told me when it was uncomfortable and I think I did pretty well listening to it. I do think I would have felt better emotionally – had I known that waiting that long was more than ok.

Many women, especially those who were fit throughout pregnancy, or had relatively easy pregnancies and deliveries feel ready to jump right back into exercise. So if you feel good early on why wait? Consider the changes your body goes through during pregnancy – regardless if you struggled or not: Diaphram (breathing muscle) altered it’s positioning and changed your breathing patterns, your pelvic floor held the weight of your growing baby (even if you had a c-section, and took even more pressure if you ran through pregnancy), your abs stretched and essentially rested for several months, your back muscles increased their load to create stability (Hello muscle imbalances!), your posture changed, your ligaments are still loose and now that you’ve got a newborn you are sleep deprived and stressed as well.

So before you head out for a run, what should you do? Take a look at your breathing, your core strength, and posture. Shallow breathing, core weakness or imbalances, and wonky posture can wreck havoc on your body over time – increasing the risk of back injuries and prolapse, incontinence, and slowing down healing. Where to start?

Start Here.

Between 2 and 6 weeks postpartum you can start adding some gentle stretching and exercises to your walking (Of course always verify with your doctor!) The first weeks should focus on waking up the muscles that have been resting, and get your core (diaphram, abs, back, pelvic floor) muscles working together again.

360 degree breathing: Side lying is a great first position to practice breathing in. When you inhale, you should feel your back, sides, chest, belly expand AND your pelvic floor relax down. On your exhale, belly goes down, ribs go back in, and the pelvic floor tightens back up. (If you don’t feel your inhale reach your pelvic floor, your pelvic floor cannot heal. It needs to relax before it can strengthen.)

Another great position to practice your breath in is on your back with your knees up. Place your arms out to the sides bent at 90 degrees. This position also stretches our your chest – a great stretch if you’re nursing! On your exhale – slide your arms over head. Remember to follow the cues above for a good 360 degree breath! In this position you should feel your mid back press into the floor on inhale if you’re getting good rib expansion.

Cat/Cow yoga stretch: Positioned on your hands and knees – let your back/belly sink and arch while stretching your head and neck up tall. Then slowly raise your back/belly up into a rounded position. Practice your 360 breathing in both positions.

If your abs are weak, you may find yourself tightening your glutes (butt) or raising your shoulders towards your ears. Your goal is no NOT let the glutes or shoulders compensate.

Next post I’ll go over some injury prevention strategies and posture changes for postpartum! So excited to share some of what I’m learning with everyone.


This was my first walk. Maura was almost a week old. I made it about 400 meters and remember feeling awwwwful. I know most women don’t have the same experiences that I did – but it would have been great to be armed with good information rather than the pressure to ‘get back at it’.