Friday, April 22, 2011

Postpartum exercise and keeping the Crohn's monster away

"I'm sick and tired of always being sick and tired." Anastacia, US singer, Crohn's sufferer.

So whatever magical protective hormones that were racing around my body during pregnancy to keep the Crohn's at bay have left the building and the result is a Crohn's monster that's more than slightly acting up. All the usual symptoms have rolled in: stomach pain, urgent need to go, diarrhoea, fatigue, loss of appetite.

I had my Infliximab transfusion earlier this week which will go a long way toward taming the beast, but I know from experience medication alone only goes so far. Diet and exercise is a huge factor in what keeps me well. Sounds easy enough, you'd think. Except with no appetite I forget to eat. Most nights dinner time arrives and I've only managed a cup of coffee and cupcake (they go together, what can I say!?!) and exercise, well apparently after giving birth you're not supposed to do anything physical, or so say the experts.

Physiotherapist: No lifting anything heavier than the baby. You shouldn't be doing any cardio for three months and don't even think about running for 6 months.
Midwife: Try light walking at first and then ease back into it with gentle yoga and relaxation exercises after the first few months.
OBgyn: No strenuous exercise for at least 6 weeks. You just gave birth, you need to take it easy.

Sigh. At least we're getting closer. The frustrating thing is that I feel like I can exercise. I'm not sore or stiff. I was quite fit prior to becoming pregnant and exercised well into my pregnancy. Since the delivery I've been doing all the Kegal exercises and lower ab exercises they recommended. I was told it would take at least six weeks to reach the target repetitions, except, I've reached them now at two weeks. Surely, there must be some exceptions to this no exercise rule?

The key to defying medical advice is to keep googling until you find a website that endorses exactly what you want to do (er... don't try this at home kids and if you do, always, ALWAYS ignore everything said on yahoo answers). So after careful perusing of the interwebs I stumbled across this page which states "General guidelines are as follows: If a woman exercised regularly for 8 to 12 weeks before delivery, she can safely resume moderate aerobic exercise 10 to 14 days after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, or approximately 21 days after a cesarean delivery."

Hallalujah! 14 days after delivery was yesterday. Let's go! I did jump on the cross trainer today. I did 20 minutes and it felt GREAT! I was originally only going to do 10 minutes, but I felt ok so I did another 5 minutes and that felt ok, so I did another 5. I've really missed cardio. I've decided to (try) and be sensible about it. I will aim for 5000 steps per day, that half what experts say we should be doing, with 10 to 20 minutes on the cross trainer every other day and see how that feels. Obviously I don't want to do myself any damage by going in too hard too fast, but at the same time, sitting around doing nothing while the Crohn's Monster runs rampant in my guts isn't going to work either.




  1. This opinion I am giving is that of a personal nature. I am still learning as far as my midwifery education goes. But here is what I will tell you. Take it easy and listen to your body. If you ease your way into it then you should be ok. And at the first sign of any pain or discomfort then I'd be seeking professional advice. If you feel ok, listen to your body. And above all, be careful! Have you thought about doing some swimming?

  2. i found you by googling "toilet posture" as i keep raving to my friends about it after just having had babies and learning, like you, in the maternity ward, how to sit on the friggen toilet while taking a shit. why the hell aren't these instructions on the back of the doors in schools? everyone needs educating about this stuff! it makes a huge difference with getting my poos out.

    anyway, so now i am reading all your posts cos i enjoyed the poo posture one so much and i want to hear your birth story! you write so well i can just imagine you would have a very entertaining one.

    i don't use blogspot, but hello anyway, and i've enjoyed your posts.