Welcome lovely new mummy,
The postpartum journey looks so different for each of us and there are many physical and mental changes and challenges that occur over the next few weeks and months. It’s important to be kind to yourself and try not to put to much pressure on yourself to return to your pre-baby self.
If you are considering getting back into exercise its crucial to ensure your pelvic floor and core is functioning correctly before you do so! Even if you are CLEARED to exercise it’s important to have a proper pelvic assessment with a women’s health physiotherapist to determine if it’s SAFE for you to exercise.
Did you know one in three women will wet themselves postpartum and 1 in three women will have some kind of pelvic floor dysfunction?
This might include pelvic organ prolapse ( where one or more of the pelvic organs drop into the vagina), bladder or bowel incontinence (no laughing matter ladies), pelvic pain or sexual dysfunction. During pregnancy, the pelvic floor endured supporting your baby, stretching and in some cases tearing during delivery. It takes time for these muscles to heal and return to their usual state so ensuring you reduce additional unnecessary strain postpartum is important. A women’s health physiotherapist will take a comprehensive medical history about your pelvic floor function, bladder and bowel habits, obstetric and sexual health background and discuss any issues related to pelvic pain. Often required is an internal examination and possibly an ultrasound to assess how your pelvic floor is functioning and diagnose areas of weakness or pelvic organ prolapse.
They will also be able to assess if you have any abdominal separation (Diastasis Recti) which may have occurred during your pregnancy. As your belly grows the connective tissue (the linea alba) that joins the six pack muscles stretches to allow for the growth of your baby. This is a normal part of pregnancy and it helps to accommodate and allow for the growth of your baby or babies! For most women, connective tissue returns to its normal state, however, for some women, the increased laxity in the linea alba sticks around. If this occurs the abdominal muscle function can become impaired which can lead to decreased function of the core and spine and increase your risk for injury and pelvic floor dysfunction. The great news is, if you suffer from this with the right care you can improve your overall function.
Exercising postpartum can be challenging as a new mum. It can be daunting and confusing knowing where or how to start and the journey forward will be different for each of us. We are all individuals who recover at different rates, in different ways, from different births. In those early days navigating life as a new mum it’s important to be kind to yourself, take it slowly and focus on getting your pre-baby body back not from the outside but by building a solid foundation from the inside.