POST NATAL CHECK UP BY A PHYSIOTHERAPIST
Congratulations! Your gorgeous little bub is now earth side, time for mum to recover from the amazing job she has done carrying and delivering her baby.
It is extremely normal for your body to not feel quite right after having your bub. Ongoing back and pelvic pain, upper back pain and pelvic floor issues such as incontinence and sensitivity are very common.
Your body needs to time to recover not only from your delivery but from being pregnant and now the new demands on your body such as feeding around the clock, repeatedly getting bubs in and out of a car seat/cot and possibly cuddling baby all day long!
There is often a lot of confusion around when to start exercising after the birth of your baby, as well as what type of exercise is okay and at what intensity.
The postnatal period, or approximately the year following delivery is a time where special consideration is required when commencing exercise. There are many situations and conditions that require exercise modification in the early weeks or months following delivery, as every woman will have had a different pregnancy and birthing experience.
When embarking on a return to exercise, the goal for every woman should be to ensure a healthy body and smooth recovery following delivery. First and foremost, a woman must receive clearance from her midwife and obstetrician that she is safe and ready to return to exercise. From here, she can commence a gentle exercise program under the guidance of a highly experienced physiotherapist who works in women’s health.
What should you be doing in the early stages?
0-6 weeks postnatal
Postnatal exercise programs in the early days and weeks should include mobility exercises, deep abdominal (core) exercises and of course pelvic floor exercises.
At The FITMUMs Program we encourage women to prioritise and incorporate health and fitness early in their motherhood journey. The benefits of exercising in motherhood are well known – not only the physical benefits (posture, core, pelvic floor, neck and back health) but also for mental and emotional well-being.
Pelvic Floor and deep abdominal exercises can usually start within a few days of delivery together with a slow return to walking over the first few weeks.
However, the first 6 weeks is really about rest, allowing your body to recover and for a woman to enjoy her new baby.
6-12 weeks postnatal (approximately)
Returning too quickly to exercise can certainly lead to issues. This is why we urge new mums to return to exercise gradually. At approximately 6 weeks, with clearance from your midwife and doctor you can progress from gentle core exercises and walking to gentle resistance / weight exercises and low impact cardio options (e.g. a stationary bike). The recommendations for returning to running and high impact exercise is a minimum of 3-6 months, again depending on your delivery and recovery thus far. The reason being is that you must allow for your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles to repair adequately to support you during more intense forms of exercise. A women’s Health Physio can assess you and give you more specific guidelines and preparation exercises depending on your goals.
At The FITMUMs Program, we want to congratulate all the pregnant women and new mums out there, this truly is such a special and exciting time in your life. We hope this has given you greater clarity when making healthy exercise choices.