Postnatal Health: The things I wish I would have known

As a women’s gym owner and personal trainer, I have always been passionate about following a holistic approach to health and fitness. So passionate that I wanted to have real life experiences of working out while pregnant, having a non-medicated birth, and working out postpartum.  As I was navigating through my first IVF pregnancy in 2023, my perspective on pregnancy drastically changed. I knew from a young age that I wanted to try for a natural birth and to do so, having the right mindset was key. I knew my inner athlete would have to come out and I would have to narrow my sight ahead in order to stay the natural course I had prepped for. For this blog I don’t want to talk about how I achieved a natural birth but the things I wish I would have known when it came to a women’s postpartum journey. 

According to the Preeclampsia Foundation, “75% of maternal deaths related to preeclampsia happen in the postpartum period, up to six weeks after delivery.” Most women with preeclampsia will deliver healthy babies and will recover but do not know what can lie ahead to fully recover. 

The things I wish I knew ahead of time:

  1. Any woman can develop preeclampsia after her baby is born whether she experienced high blood pressure during her pregnancy or not. 
  2. You should monitor your blood pressure for at least six weeks postpartum but especially during the 1st week. If high blood pressure goes untreated a woman is at risk for seizures, stroke, organ damage and even death. 
  3. Warning signs to look out for; stomach pain in the upper right quadrant, swelling in hands and feet, severe headache, seeing spots, and even shortness of breath. 
  4. 1 in every 25 women will have preeclampsia and there’s nothing she can do to prevent it. 
  5. To eliminate your risk of seizure or stroke your midwife or doctor may have you take magnesium or do a 24-48 magnesium drip. 

My goal for all women is to make sure they self-assess and one of my great tools beside listening to my body was my apple watch. It told me my resting heart rate was trending upward and my anxiety grew two days after I gave birth. If it wasn’t for me listening to my body when I was discharged from the hospital and my midwives telling me to get a home blood pressure cuff I might not have been lucky. My blood pressure spiked to 176/100 and the headache in my eyes was never ending. According to my apple watch update, it took my body 11 weeks postpartum for my resting heart rate to go back down to my normal after doing a 17-hour magnesium drip and 5 days of blood pressure medicines. 

What I have learned while navigating my pre and post-natal health is to build a support team you can trust and rely on and set realistic goals and prep for them while having a backup plan just in case. Remember every pregnancy is unique, so listen to your body, trust your instincts, and enjoy the incredible journey of motherhood ahead. The reward in the end of holding your little one was worth it all. 

Linnea Lones

Owner, Just Lift Fitness



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