Yup, this is a thing. Postpartum hormones are a doozy in more ways than one, especially when it comes to your joints and surrounding muscles and tissues. When I share this with my patients, they often respond with, “that explains a lot, and why doesn’t anyone tell us these things?!”.
Mama, I hear you!
There are a number of hormone changes that are in flux as your body transitions from pregnancy to delivery to postpartum, and none of that is “back to normal” at 6 weeks. It fluctuates for a number of reasons, one BIG one being to support milk ? production for breastfeeding (BF).
Remember relaxing hormones during pregnancy? That’s the helpful one that makes your body have that superhuman stretching ability to accommodate all the growth of the baby. Well that stretchy business doesn’t immediately revert back once the baby is earthside. It takes several months in fact, making this an especially important consideration when mamas are healing and as they resume exercise.
The postpartum hormone cocktail, as I affectionately refer to it, keeps your body in that hyper-flexible loosey goosey state ALL OVER to support breastfeeding efforts, and research shows that it lasts for up to 3 months AFTER you fully stop BF. Yup, for that long after!
Hyper-flexible joints, muscles, and tissues mean they need extra support to counteract the s-t-r-e-t-c-h. Without it, there’s a lot more stress and strain on your joints – insert aches and pains here – this is also why your balance can feel extra wobbly when you try to move quickly or do single leg activities without adding more support to the system.
So what’s the best way to help with this? STRENGTH training. This is why it’s so important for mamas to begin their postpartum healing journeys with breathing and strength work BEFORE lots of cardio and high impact movements.
Mamas, how did your postpartum hormone cocktail make you feel? If you had to compare it to a mixed drink, which one describes it best?