Exercising with a cerclage
Since my surgery in January, my activity level dropped drastically. I scoured google in search of some cerclage-friendly exercises to keep my body in shape, but was bitterly disappointed.
There isn’t much out there for us cerclage-bearing mums, and when I tried to ask my high risk doctor, he was skittish of everything. Initially, he told me nothing that bears down on the womb. So, no bending over, and that is regardless if i am working out or not. But as I have gotten further along and the contractions have been a frequent visitor, anything but rolling over in bed seemed to be off the table.
To be honest, i am not sure that they really know what is good, because for the last decade, women with cerclages were almost always put on strict bed rest. So no one has even tried to figure out a routine outside of walking.
Walking was fine to do, but my uterus gets really fussy after about ten minutes and lets me know with a few braxton hicks. So, i decided to just focus on stretching and breathing. Yoga was good during the middle of the second trimester when I was smaller, but even some of those moves were a bit precarious when a stitched up cervix is at stake. Still, I took some of the techniques, got some resistance bands and created a fifteen minute routine for myself that at least keeps the blood clots away.
First, I do basic bicep curls using my band (or five to eight pound weights). i always do this seated because I get rather dizzy or winded when i stand up and try to lift weights. 3 sets of 20.
The next two exercises I snagged from the pregnancy and newborn magazine while in the waiting room. I do 3 sets of 20 for each side. In between each set, I breath in deeply for five breaths.
This one is called the clam shell stretch and is supposed to help with the glutes and lower core. I lay on my left side, my legs bent at a forty-five degree angle and closed. Keeping my feet together, I open my legs like a clam and then close it again.
Next is a modified side plank. In a seated position i bend my knees at a ninety degree angle, body facing forward. With my hand planted to my side, i push my side up off the ground and then return it to the ground.
These three routines give you a little bit of cardio, but for the most part are modified strength training routines. I know it doesn't seem like much, but really this is enough to keep me feeling like my body isn't entirely falling a part.
The next few exercises are for stretching and i prefer to do them after i have warmed up my muscles with the previous three.
I start in a seated position with one leg in front of the other (i like to elevate my hips with a pillow sometimes. I take ten slow, deep breaths, focusing on my diaphragm and core.
Then I grab my stretch band (whatever resistance feels good), extend my right leg out to the side and wrap the the band around my foot. I lean in the opposite direction and point and flex my feet slowly for 3 sets of 10 reps. I get a nice stretch in my calf and hamstring. After this stretch, I stretch both legs out to the side and repeat my breathing again for ten deep breaths.
Finally, I repeat my point and flex routine for the opposite leg, making sure to bring the first leg in. Once I am done, i return to both legs to my first pose of this circuit and repeat my breathing exercise as part of my closing of the routine.
That's it. Super easy! If I wasn't pregnant with a cerclage, I would probably add a bit more, but this routine has been very relaxing and it has opened up my hips a lot. If you have been put on some sort of bed rest, you could do any one of these without leaving your bed. Anyway, this is just what I like to do since its pretty low impact and keeps the blood circulating.