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Physiotherapist begs mums not to follow Michelle Bridges post natal exercise routine.

Michelle Bridges recent post on Instagram has one Aussie Physiotherapist begging mums “JOGGING 3 WEEKS POST BIRTH? PLEASE DON’T.”

Michelle posted“Mums have been asking me what I’m doing for training. Here’s what I did today. Remember! I’m a professional trainer & have been training for 30yrs. SO! For you please dial this down to 15-20mins of total work.

30min of 1min jog 1 min walk
26min 20sec jog 10sec walk

Enjoy and yes a certain someone was with me.”

This sparked concerns for Women In Focus Physiotherapy who posted on their Facebook page today saying…

“To mums out there who have seen Michelle Bridges recent post about the exercise she is doing at 3 weeks post natal, then you would be right in feeling confused by her recommendations.

It boasts about her 56 min interval work out, which is comprised of 32mins of jogging and 24 minutes of walking. She goes on to say “Remember! I’m a professional trainer & have been training for 30yrs. So! For you please dial this down to 15 – 20 mins of total work.”

Michelle recommends you reduce the length of her workout, however has failed to identify that the real issue is not the length rather the type of exercise: Jogging! The reduced 20 minute workout would still include 12 minutes of jogging, which for a woman who has just had a vaginal birth or cesarean delivery is quite simply irresponsible, and would NOT be recommended by an experienced health professional.

If an individual decides to jog soon after giving birth, this is their choice. However as a public figure encouraging women who’s body types, birth and fitness histories are unknown, to start jogging is quite frankly concerning. It could potentially cause a woman more harm than good in these early stages, especially to the pelvic floor and the ligaments that support the bladder, uterus and bowel.

After seeing this post on Tuesday, and letting it sit with me for a few days, I have become increasingly frustrated by the incorrect message that are promoted by the fitness industry especially for women in their childbearing years. As a health professional working in Women’s Health for over a decade, there is a duty of care to provide women with the correct information on how to best look after their bodies. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard comments like “If only I knew about the damage returning to exercise too early could cause. I might not have ended up with these problems.”

As noted in the past, I’m a great supporter of Michelle and the work she does in building healthier communities throughout Australia. But now what I’d love to see is Michelle using this time as opportunity to promote a positive post-natal message to her audience. Like rebuilding of the pelvic floor, deep abdominals and postural muscles that are so dramatically weakened during pregnancy. Or instead of jogging, encouraging more appropriate low impact cardio options such as the stationary bike or cross trainer.

Ladies, remember you only get one body and one pelvic floor, which has been gifted to you, to enable the growth of your special little human. So please, show it some respect and look after it.”

So what exactly is wrong with jogging at 3 weeks post -natal? 

“In the post-natal body the ligaments and muscles have a reduced ability to generate strength due to the physical and hormonal changes of pregnancy and birth. These changes coupled with the downward force of gravity with vertical exercise such as jogging or jumping means that if undertaking high impact exercise, then excessive strain is being placed on already weakened structures including the pelvic floor and pelvic girdle, potentially causing a new mum long term damage.”

And what exercise can you do safely? CLICK HERE for more information from Women in Focus Physiotherapy.

Share your comments below.

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  • It’s definitely safer to build back up after pregnancy.

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  • My first was an emergency c-section and it took me many weeks to recover. There’s no way I could’ve jogged 3 weeks after. Even walking briskly was out of the question. It’s great she’s able to be so active, but she really shouldn’t promote it and recommend 15-20mins. She’s not a doctor!

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  • Interesting article to see the different viewpoints.

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  • I feel sorry for Michelle. I guess it’s part of her job but there seems to be a section of the media quick to jump on anything that’s not perfect these days and incite outrage. Michelle posted what she is doing and did say that others should not do exactly the same as she is a fitness expert. That said, promoting any kind of jogging so early after birth is worth debating. I started running 8 months after my last child was born and now months later finding out that even that was too early for my body and am not allowed to run again till the physio gives the all clear. Sometimes I think we forget the trauma and changes our bodies go through and that it takes quite a while too slowly strengthen them again (pelvic floor in particular).

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  • To be fair, Michelle was asked what she did and I perceived it as an individual feeling good about what works for her.
    Each individuals birthing experience is different ( physically and mentally ) Those that have had a C section / traumatic experience ( I feel for you ) but surely common sense would prevail and you would not undertake such activities at 3 weeks post natal? Would you not consult with your GP, Midwife or health care provider prior to attempting such undertakings?
    I myself have had 8 children ( lucky to say all natural births, with 1 set of twins ) I’ve always been active during and after pregnancy. (I’ve breast fed my babies and have always included them in my regime – done pelvic floor exercises the day after birth) Returned back to playing sports as soon as I felt my body was up to it. The running I would do were short quick bursts ( suicides – line touching ) alternating with side steps / skipping / knee highs. These were all done with my children.
    My point is, please use common sense, listen to your body and always seek medical advice before tackling anything your not sure about.
    Love Yourself :)

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  • It’s a bit concerning indeed when Michelle encourages exercises which aren’t medical recommended !

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  • I think Michelle is a professional in her field and I have disliked a lot of the negative attention she has received. I do think though she isn’t a professional for what is right for women who have babies or are pregnant. I think she should keep that in mind as things are very different for a woman’s body during and after pregnancy.

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  • Hmmm… it’s a worry when we idolise or follow celebrities. Always be guided by the medical professionals and what works for you. There’s no way following my traumatic birth I could have done anything remotely resembling light exercise for a very long time. This is a dangerous area.

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  • Ah….so she hasn’t caught on to pelvic-floor safe gym routines and mama recovery movement yet? Wow. Gentle cycling was what all my physios recommended after birth. I went to a pelvic-floor safe gym and did recovery pilates, modified yoga, spin, modified aqua aerobics (always having one foot on the pool floor) but no weights, running, or rowing. It is possible that Michelle has a v-jazz of steel with watertight features, but like she says- she is not a mere mortal. And she also clearly does not know very much about modern birth recovery practice. Be well mamas! Take care of you.

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  • an interesting read to see another point of view.

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  • Wow this article is crazy. I cannot believe Michelle bridges would encourage women to exercise 3 weeks after birth.

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  • Lke gs

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  • Honestly Michelle Bridges can’t win. She was asked what she did for training after the birth of her child. And she told them. She wasn’t recommending what other mums should do. Give Michelle a break.

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  • My wife Jackie gave birth to two 3kg twin boys after her second pregnancy! She had an 8cm tear in her abdominal wall. She started a Pilates based program with a qualified physiotherapist who is also a mum of two. It worked so well and they became such good friends that they are now business partners and the directors of:
    Body Beyond Birth.
    An online program helping mothers get on track safely before and after childbirth.
    Please check them out!
    http://www.bodybeyondbirth.com

    Reply

  • 34% body fat is required to successfuly breast feed – “breast feeding womens assocuiation”
    why would you interfere with the most important nutrition you can give your child for vanity.
    in traditional chinese medicine – 3 weeks rest is absolutely essential to the reconstructure of bones which have softened for the birthing process.iF not adhered to you end up with hysterical women later on in the journey of life.
    whose taking care of babe- when your out jogging Michele- luxuries most families dont have, all abut making mum feel guilt for being human and not a gym junkie. what about the hormonal imbalances and cortisol stress caused by over excelling too soon let alone , focusing on innner health.sure way to wreck your lower back if weak
    gentle yoga stretching, pelvic contractions-
    the new power breed – this is a time to surrender to bonding with your infant. get off your ego Bridges
    unimpressed again with your lack real knowledge as with your adultry

    Reply

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