Back-To-Back Pregnancies

Lately, we’ve had a number of people reach out via social media and email who are curious as to how to best support their bodies with back-to-back pregnancies. Mostly what you read on the internet are horror stories and how this experience is anything but desirable. We’re determined to flip the switch to make this a positive experience and figure out the best ways to nourish and support our bodies. 

Before we dive in, we want to make note that we consider back-to-back pregnancies to be when someone gets pregnant again after less than a year postpartum. We could even say two years or less postpartum as everyone’s healing timeline is different. For the sake of this conversation, we are saying back-to-back pregnancies are when conception happens less than a year postpartum. 

Dr. Lindsey Mathews, BIRTHFIT Founder and CEO, Dr. Hannah Anderson, of BIRTHFIT Cedar Rapids, and Brittany Anderson, a Women’s Health Practitioner, share their perspectives. Below are the top 5 questions we’ve received with Dr. Lindsey’s, Dr. Hannah’s, and Brittany’s thoughts. 

 

Top 5 questions:

  1. What exercises can help prep your mind and body for back-to-back pregnancies? 
  • Setting a clock and breathing for 5-10 minutes a day. 
  • The Functional Progression, which comprises all of the following (with some specific adaptations): dead bug, rolling, side planks, table top, crawling, tripod, bear, bear crawls, squats
  • Gentle yoga salutations 
  • Strictly Strength Work 
  • Focus on using proper core pressure and bracing while doing daily tasks like carrying the carseat, lifting baby out of the crib, and going up stairs.
  • Incorporate movements that help you feel really good in YOUR body. This might include dancing, hiking, swimming, etc. 
  • Baby/toddler wearing is a fantastic way to train for the demands of a second pregnancy, while allowing you to bond with your little one.
  • Consider including your kiddo(s) into your workout.

 

  1. What nutrition tips do you have for breastfeeding while pregnant? 
  • Nutrient dense and quality foods are preferred over quantity. 
  • You need all three macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) as you are both recovering and building. 
  • Hydration is key. (Check out LMNT supplement.)
  • Broths and teas. (Check out Mangata Birth and Botanics.)
  • Focus on how much good you can add on your plate, rather than what “bad” or less effective foods you can take away. 
  • Find nourishing meals you enjoy, and have those things on hand ready to make, or ask a friend or family member to make it for you. 
  • If you have the resources, delivery meal services like Daily Harvest can keep nutrient dense options at the ready. 
  • Add collagen protein and some form of oil or fat to oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothies to limit blood sugar spikes and stay full longer. 
  • If you don’t eat fish regularly, add a high quality fish oil (like this one or this one) to restore Omega 3s for you and baby. 
  • Avoid skipping meals and try to keep your blood sugar steady. Keep nutrient dense snacks in your purse, diaper bag, gym bag, and car so you always have something to munch on. 

 

  1. If time is limited, what should I be prioritizing?
  • See where and when you can sneak movement into your day. For example, can you walk to the coffee shop in the morning or at lunch? Can you substitute some sitting meetings for walking meetings? Next time you hang out with a girlfriend, can she tag along for your personal training session or can you do a yoga or dance class together? If you work at a desk job, can you set a timer and do 25 squats every 1-2 hours? 
  • The way you start and finish your day matters. Do what you need to do to connect with yourself so you can fully show up for everyone that needs you (including you!). 
  • Spend 5-10 minutes a day connecting with your breath. 
  • If you’re home with a baby or toddler during the day, try copying their movements. Do they squat while they play blocks? You could try this, too. Is baby doing tummy time? Work on “adult tummy time” or 3 months position for yourself if it’s comfortable in early pregnancy. If they’re crawling, crawl with them focusing on IAP and alignment. 
  • Pick a day each week and do some easy meal prep so you’ll have healthy options ready to go. Batch cooking items like chicken, root veggies, and lactation cookies will save you time and energy when things get hectic.
  • You cannot pour from an empty cup. Prioritize your needs, even if that just looks like claiming 20 minutes for an epsom bath ALONE.

 

  1. Is there anything that should absolutely be avoided as far as movement goes 6 months postpartum and 1 month pregnant? Anything to help my DRA? 
  • Shift your mindset focus to one of nourishing your body through nutrition and movement. We want all of our joints to be able to move through their full range of motion and maintain strength and stability while doing so. Flexibility without strength is instability. Be mindful of dynamic movements like olympic lifts, gymnastics kips, jumping, running, and burpees as your connective tissue literally has not had enough time to completely heal AND your connective tissue is being asked to show up for spring training without an adequate off-season. This is not good or bad, but just the facts of where you’re currently at. 
  • No sit-ups, toes to bar, mountain climbers. 
  • Avoid breaking a sweat just because you feel pressured to. Move in a way that you enjoy and that will keep you coming back. Don’t suffer through any workouts.  
  • Don’t underestimate how hard your body is working to continue the healing process AND support a pregnancy. One of the best exercises you can do is just to walk!

 

  1. Any tips for immediate postpartum? 
  • Take 30-60 days and do absolutely nothing. Chill, breathe, walk; set no expectations at a gym, or for a race, competition, etc. 
  • Ask for help, or at least say “yes” when other people offer. If people offer to bring food, be specific about what you’d like. Having a meal train website with specific recipes is a great idea. If you don’t need any more food, ask if they’ll walk your dog, play with your older kids, or fold some laundry. If they say no, then they might not get to be part of your early recovery. 
  • Consider hiring a postpartum doula. These professionals can help support your family through the early days and weeks of the postpartum transition by preparing meals, helping with breastfeeding and infant care, and so much more.

 

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to setup a Mind-Body Nourishment CONSULTATION

 

Dr. Lindsey Mathews, CEO and Founder, @lindsey_k_mathews 

Dr. Hannah Anderson,  BIRTHFIT Cedar Rapids @birthfit_cedarrapids

Brittany Anderson,  WHNP-BC, BIRTHFIT Professional Staff  @britteanderson

 

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