Today I want to talk a little bit about returning to exercise after miscarriage.
A few weeks ago, I shared my miscarriage story, and I’ve wanted to be very honest and transparent about how I’m returning to exercise after going through such a traumatic experience.
Before we dive in, here are a few disclaimers:
- This is how I have chosen to resume my exercise routine after miscarriage, not a one-size-fits-all guide.
- I am a fitness professional, so what is right for me may be different than what is right for you.
- Always consult your doctor prior to returning to exercise after miscarriage.
When I found out I was pregnant for the third time, I continued with my normal exercise routine. This included regular Pilates workouts, short HIIT workouts and long walks. I knew that once the 6-week mark hit, I’d probably lose all motivation so I tried to stay consistent those first few weeks.
The morning of July 4th, my husband and I did an at-home HIIT workout before heading out to a parade & BBQ with our friends. The next day I started to miscarry.
(For the record, I do NOT think that exercise caused my miscarriage. I am simply sharing the date for the sake of the timeline.)
From that point on, I took a break from all exercise.
I rested as much as possible while my body did what it needed to do. I was weak and easily tired. Even when we went out with the kids, or ran errands, I took breaks and sat down as much as I possibly could.
I chose to take rest very seriously because the last thing I wanted to do was cause unnecessary complications.
After about a week I was feeling so achy and stiff from sitting around that I decided to do a very simple and gentle Pilates routine – only about 10 minutes long. But the next day, I felt like I had the flu. I was exhausted, achy, sick to my stomach, and I ended up in Urgent Care getting an IV for mild dehydration. The Pilates workout didn’t cause the trip to Urgent Care, but it definitely reminded me that I needed to take it slow and REST.
All in all, I took 2 weeks off of exercise. My #1 goal was to rest, recover and avoid complications.
At that point, I got the OK from my doctor to resume exercise. I had stopped bleeding. My tests showed that my body was returning to its “non-pregnant” state.
So about 3 weeks after the miscarriage I added gentle Pilates and yoga routines into my day. I did 10-20 minute Pilates workouts at home and a few Sarah Beth Yoga routines in an effort to ease back into movement, not overdo it, and listen to my body.
4 weeks after the miscarriage, I added in a little bit of steady state cardio (aka: low intensity) and kept my Pilates workouts to around 20 minutes.
5 weeks after miscarriage I finally started feeling like myself again. Last week I added a few HIIT workouts and felt great – a little out of shape, but no aches, pains or cramping to speak of. I’m now back to daily at-home Pilates workouts, occasional cardio workouts and continuing to listen to my body. If anything changes in the way I feel I will certainly listen and adjust my routine accordingly.
Now that I’ve shared my individual journey, here’s what I recommend for anyone who may be in a similar situation:
Tips for Resuming Exercise After Miscarriage
Consult your doctor.
Every miscarriage is different. Depending on your history, how far along you were, the procedures you had, etc., your journey may be very different. If you have any questions at all, speak with your doctor and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Resting is the best thing you can do for your body during and after a miscarriage. Your body is undergoing a lot of physical change in a short amount of time. Your blood volume is changing, your hormone levels are adjusting, and your body is doing what it needs to heal. Do your best to support that healing process by resting. I know it’s hard – you’ve gained weight, you want to feel like yourself again, but take it from me, that time will come. Embrace rest for as long as you need.
Ease back into your routine.
There is no rush. Your body experienced a major event and it is okay to go slow. Start with low impact activities (like walking, yoga, or Pilates and gradually increase the intensity as you recover and re-gain your energy levels.
Pay attention to bleeding, cramping and other cues.
I waited until my bleeding had completely stopped to resume exercise. As you begin to exercise after a miscarriage pay attention to how your body feels and respond accordingly. As you feel more and more like yourself, exercise will help you as you continue to grieve and heal – physically and emotionally.
Exercise for the way it makes you feel and don’t stress about your weight.
This one is hard. It’s hard to gain weight with a pregnancy and then all of the sudden not be pregnant anymore. It’s hard mentally. But I’ve been really trying to focus on returning to exercise to re-build my strength, increase my energy levels and boost my mood rather than focusing on the number on the scale. I’m trusting that my body will find it’s normal state again soon and trying not to stress about its size – I hope you do the same too.
If you are going through a miscarriage of your own, I am so sorry. Know that you WILL get through this. You WILL be okay. And you are not alone.