Have you ever wondered how your body is able to expand and make room for your baby as they grow? The hormone relaxin helps our ligaments stretch and prepare for our baby’s growth, delivery, and for breastfeeding. It provides an extra bit of elasticity to our joints, tendons, ligaments, skin, and more. Generally speaking this is a good thing. As we breastfeed our bodies continue to produce the hormone so that our nipple tissue can expand and facilitate breastfeeding. But what does that mean for moms who want to get back into shape, or get back to working out? In this post, we’re taking a look at the impact of relaxin on working out while you are pregnant and breastfeeding.
The Impact of Relaxin
While allowing your pelvis to expand and make room for your baby is a good thing, our hormones aren’t exactly great at picking and choosing what they impact. In addition to providing our skin with elasticity for breastfeeding, relaxin also helps our rib cage, uterus, pelvis, etc. return to normal after delivery. For second and third pregnancies the effect of this hormone is even greater and/or faster.
This means that in addition to helping our bodies fulfill our roles as mothers, it may have a negative impact in other places. Relaxin may cause additional joints to become loose which can impact certain activities.
During pregnancy and postpartum our joint are likely to be less stable. Activities that require heavy lifting or higher impacts might put us at higher risk. Healthcare professionals and fitness experts tend to recommend that new mothers stay away from these activities (think cross fit), and opt for safer lower impact activities to get back into a fitness routine.
What Can You Do About It?
This doesn’t mean that you can’t workout while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It just means you have to be a bit more careful.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Maggie, I’m the Content Manager here at BeauGen. Before having my son I have always been an avid skier, cyclist, yoga enthusiast. When I was first pregnant with my son, I spoke to my doctor and professionals in each sport.
The first and most important thing is to know your body, your comfort zone, and what you are physically capable of. The second thing is to proceed with caution. You can continue to do the forms of exercise you love when you stay within your comfort zone and pay attention to your body. It also helps to work with a professional to help stay within a safe zone.
Professionals like trainers, coaches, and physical therapists can help ensure proper form, safe range of motion, and maintaining your balance while exercising. All of this helps to keep you safe while gaining (or regaining) fitness during your pregnancy and breastfeeding journey.