We asked members of our Pregnant/Postnatal Facebook group what their top tips were for getting back into the saddle after a pregnancy.
“I had a water birth. Was back in the saddle 3 weeks later for a quiet ride, probably should have waited a little longer so I didn't get a sore back! After 6 weeks I started upping my intensity again but I didn't feel back to normal until around 12 weeks after giving birth. I think my biggest piece of advice would be, let your body guide you and do what you feel ready for, don't push yourself, you'll bounce back when you are ready. And be sure to make the most of that magical "fourth trimester" with your baby and being grateful for the little miracle your body created”
“I had a water birth and was back in the saddle 3 weeks after birth (I also had 2nd degree tear so had stitches) as silly as it sounds, I had my first ride with my partner pushing little one in the pram, it actually really helped as one of my biggest worries was leaving him even for those 20 minutes of the first ride. I just took all the pressure off and thought, if it hurts I'm getting off. I was so relaxed having my son near me and able to see it meant I actually really enjoyed it and didn't feel sore at all. Also, I rode in my shorter jumping stirrups so that I could easily stand up out of the saddle as and when I needed to (maternity pads can be so bulky it helped keep me comfy standing out of the saddle for a minute at a time.) I also breastfeed and have invested in a nursing sports bra that offers great support and means I can hop off when back at the yard after a ride and feed my little man keeping myself comfy and him happy.”
“I had an assisted delivery using forceps and an episiotomy. I was back on board 4 weeks after giving birth and I felt like my undercarriage was a foot lower than it used to be, particularly in the rising trot! So my advice would be to wear two pairs of knickers and good-fitting jodhpurs, and expect to feel very different for a short while!”
“I had a c-section. I was up and about doing day-to-day stuff a week later. I didn’t get in the saddle until 4 weeks after and went for a walk hack. Luckily I was okay but still took it easy for another 4 weeks whilst riding”
“My midwife's top tip following emergency c-section was to do as little as possible for the first 3 weeks. Do not push it at all, let someone else do all the lifting, cleaning etc. It gives your body a good chance to heal and in her experience means you’re much more likely to feel good within a few weeks rather than doing too much in those early weeks and it taking months. I’m 4 weeks post-section today and going for my first ride - I can’t wait!”
“I had ventouse delivery and was physically ok to get back on after six weeks, however mentally it has taken me six months to enjoy it again. I very nearly sold my horse, but now I'm back into it again. I'd say surround yourself with people who will support you, expect to have gone back a few steps and give yourself time. It comes back!”
“I had a vaginal birth with an episiotomy. Doing gentle yoga and the Kayla Itsines post-birth programme helped hugely. I needed to strengthen my core again and regain my balance, so once I got back on I didn’t feel out of place. I would really recommend finding a really easygoing horse as well to start with. Confidence is everything when you first get back on and making sure you have done a bit of core/balance work and having a good horse is vital to that! Don’t hop on your crazy off-the-track that rears (speaking from experience haha). Also, get the baby used to sleeping in a pram bassinet attachment. I loved my mountain buggy one, and it was a lifesaver. He would sleep in it in the lounge during the day before I needed to sleep him in it at the yard, so he was used to it and in a good routine.”
Whether you choose to ride or not ride during your pregnancy, you need good quality thick maternity leggings to support you. Flexars can be used as maternity breeches and maternity jodhpurs. They look and feel stylish, with their supportive waistband that sits comfortably over your bump. They wash well and do not sag or misshapen. Not designed specifically for maternity wear, they blend in with your everyday wardrobe which you can wear pre, during and post-pregnancy.
We have a Facebook group you can join for helpful tips and advice.
You can read more about Flexars for maternity wear here.