By Wellness Contributor Kate Payne (@aussieyogamama)

Some women sail through pregnancy, whilst for others (like myself) things are a lot more challenging. My first trimester was smooth sailing. Morning sickness was barely an issue and overall I was feeling fantastic. At my 20-week scan I was diagnosed with a rare and very high-risk condition. This resulted in early admission to hospital on bed rest, an emergency caesarian at 34 weeks and a premature baby in the special care nursery.

Yoga was my foundation for staying calm during pregnancy and post birth, allowing my body to move in gentle ways that would allow for my situation.

Prenatal

It’s important to be guided by your doctors but also trust your own intuition. For me, rest was very important but it didn’t mean having to lie in bed all day. I kept up gentle walking for as long as I could, a regular restorative yoga practice, meditation and breath work.

What is good for mum is good for baby, so the more relaxed you can be during this challenging time the better.

Regardless of your condition or situation, we can all meditate and practice our breath work (even if you know you’re having a caesar, breath work still comes in handy!).

Take this opportunity to build a stronger connection to your baby.

Postnatal (post caesar)

The first six weeks

The general consensus is not to do anything for at least the first six weeks post caesar. In saying that, if you’re anything like me (someone who would go stir crazy if I wasn’t at least doing something!) then you’ll just want to get your doctors tick of approval to commence some gentle exercise. Most probably all you’ll need is gentle walking (fresh air!) and stretching to start feeling like yourself again.

6-12 weeks post caesar

Remembering that not too long ago you had major surgery, you might not feel like doing anything other than caring for your newborn. But if you do, yoga is one of the best forms of exercise to start with.

Some women feel amazing within the first few weeks. I on the other hand felt battered and bruised for at least the first six weeks and then some, so found gentle walking was perfect. When I was ready to get back into a regular yoga practice my go to pose was Cat/Cow - gentle movement for rebuilding connection to your midsection, create movement through your back and strengthen your pelvic floor. In fact, Cat/Cow is a great sequence both in pregnancy and postnatally, but when pregnant keep your spine straight rather than arching your lower back – rounding the spine on the exhale feels amazing.

Cat/Cow

Involve baby by placing them on their back between your hands.

ü  Breath in as you arch through the lower back.

ü  Exhale as you round through the spine, gently drawing up through the belly and engaging the pelvic floor.

The highs and lows of having a newborn coupled with the fact you’ve had a caesar can be overwhelming so take your time to get back into your regular exercise routine. The more you care for your recovering body now the better you’ll be in the long run.

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