Having a child is a life changing experience and for many women it is a body changing experience as well.
There are many things that may be common, but aren’t normal and are not necessarily something that we have to live with.
Some of these things can be addressed with exercise and a gentle post-natal recovery program, and others may need further assistance from your pelvic health physio and or doctor.
Ideally, we'd love to see all of our new mothers see a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist.
What Is Your Pelvic Floor
Your pelvic floor is the group of muscles that forms the “floor” of what is commonly known as the core.
They are the muscles we use to stop wee, poo, and farts.
During pregnancy and childbirth they are stretched and placed under a lot of pressure, which sometimes results in a weakening of your pelvic floor.
Symptoms of a weakened pelvic floor may include:
- Accidentally leaking urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze, exercise
- Feeling the urge to go to the toilet and not quite making it
- Constantly feeling the urge to go to the toilet
- Finding it difficult to completely empty your bladder or bowels
- Accidentally pooing or farting
- A loss of sexual sensation
- Pelvic pain and or sexual pain
While these symptoms are incredibly common, none of them are normal, and many of them can be addressed with exercise and physiotherapy.
Your post natal specialised trainer may refer you to a pelvic health physiotherapist for advice and treatment.
Returning to Exercise
Even if you were active during your pregnancy, it’s important to return to exercise with care.
- Exercise has many benefits for the post-natal mum including:
- Improvement of mood and sleep
- Addressing common aches and pains caused by postural changes
- Faster strengthening and recovery post partum
We will work with you to assess your abdominal muscles, and assess the extent of any Diastasis Recti (separation of your 6 pack muscles)
Your trainer will recommend a post-natal program that gently begins strengthening and re-activating the muscles most stressed in your body during pregnancy and birth.
You may not feel that you are “doing” much for the first few sessions – but it is essential to properly strengthen your core and pelvic floor as you return to exercise.
As your muscles strengthen, you can continue to progress your program to an intensity that suits you.
We cannot stress enough that there is no rush to “snap back” in-fact, quite the opposite may be true. You spent 9 months creating an entirely new human being, and you are encouraged to gently return to strengthening, healing, and moving your body.
That being said, there is a lot of fear with regards to post natal exercise and we want to assure you that you are not broken, there are ways back to the sports and activities you love, and any breaks you take from certain movements are hopefully "just for now" not forever.
Returning to Exercise Safely
Your post natal specialised trainer will recommend exercises that are safe for your pelvic floor and your recovering body.
We encourage you to be active and to move, and enjoy your post-natal recovery. Motion is lotion, and your workout regime can improve both your mental and physical health.
Many of the exercises can be performed with your baby and may give you quality, connection time while you work out together.
We will also provide you with a list of exercises to that may not be appropriate for you just now including:
- Situps, Curls and Crunches
- Double leg lifts,
- Planks and other exercises that may cause your abdominal muscles to separate.
Just because they're not appropriate just now, doesn't mean that can't be incorporated back into your programs, as we'd love to see you moving your body in ALL the ways!