Postnatal Recovery and Exercise
You've had your baby and now you are ready to get back into exercise, but not sure how to safely do this?
Pregnancy and birth are one of the most amazing things our bodies can do, it is not to be underestimated and unfortunately, society does this. We are often expected to jump straight back into normal life, but your body might not be feeling up to it, is it left feeling weak, achy, tired, and disconnected and you don't know where to start?
My programs and I are here to support you to reconnect to your body and reintroduce movement and exercise safely and effectively for your core, pelvic floor, and entire body to become fully functional, strong, and healthy again.
During Pregnancy a significant amount of changes happen to your body on both a physical and hormonal level to accommodate your growing baby, then birth again is another huge event for your body which you need to allow your body time to heal and recover from. Think about any other form of injury/and/or surgery, recovery from this can take from days to weeks to months, your body has been through a lot of changes over a long period, and therefore you should consider and keep this in mind for your recovery and rehabilitation. Every woman's experience is different, however, so you need to ‘Listen to your body' and take it at a pace that suits you.
Racing through recovery might put you at risk for long-term injuries.
When you are feeling up to adding a little more movement back into your life, the key is to do it PROGRESSIVELY to avoid long term injuries from jumping back into something your body is not ready for.
Progressive movement and safe, targeted Postnatal exercise can:
· Give you more energy
· Improve mental health
· Improve core function
· Improve pelvic floor function
· Improve overall strength and function
· Improve your posture
· Reduce aches and pains
· Speed up your recovery
Foundations for Postnatal Recovery
LEARN HOW TO SAFELY RETURN TO EXERCISE - some exercise and movement can do more harm than good
Your core and pelvic floor need to have special attention during postnatal recovery. They have been put under a lot of strain and are likely to have undergone some damage during pregnancy and birth. Your core is likely to have a degree of separation down the centre (Diastasis recti) in those initial weeks post birth, however this often recovers without too much intervention. You do need be cautious of this and watch out for symptoms such as doming or peaking down the centre, when increasing the intensity of your exercise.
You Pelvic floor will have been stretched and strained from supporting the increasing weight for you entire pregnancy and if you had a vaginal birth will also have varying degrees of trauma to recover from.
Targeted and correctly done deep core and pelvic floor exercises are a fantastic place to start to ensure your core and pelvic floor recover to a strong and functional state.
·Once you hit that magic ’ six-week’ mark this is NOT automatic clearance to go full steam ahead and get back into any pre-pregnancy exercise you did, please progress slowly with your return to exercise so that your body has the best chance at a full recovery to avoid long term pelvic floor and/or core dysfunction...this is extremely common, but not talked about.
My online Re-energised Postnatal Recovery Program will guide you through the progressions for returning to exercise safely and effectively.
Pelvic floor info ...coming soon.
Download your guide (soon)
At about the six to eight weeks postnatal (or after) I highly recommend you book yourself a appointment with a Womens pelvic floor physio for a physical assessment and customised management plan if needed. You may or may not have symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction and only by having a physical assessment by a trained professional will confirm this. It is well worth getting yourself checked that everything is functioning effectively down there especially if you have symptoms, or are wanting to progress back into more strenuous exercise that has the potential to leave you with long term pelvic floor dysfunction if not progressed correctly for your situation.
Pelvic floor dysfunction is very common, however not often talked about. There is plenty of ways to manage symptoms, the best way being to prevent it by taking the time to recovery safely and progressively after pregnancy and birth. This includes mothers that have had c-sections.
These foundations will give you the kick-start you need to Re-energising your body to function at its best! Ensure you are still getting a good balance of rest and recovery alongside these:
Re-connect and restore effective breathing patterns
Unwind Mummy postures with mobility and stretching
Gradually work towards adding functional movements to your exercise regime
Learn how to do all of these progressively in the online Re-energised Postnatal Recovery Program
Listen to your body
You may have heard the phrase 'Listen to your body' before, but what does this mean in terms of postnatal recovery and exercise?
When you start adding more intensity to your exercise from at least that six week mark, keep an eye out for these symptoms as a guide to let you know you might be progressing too fast for your current ability.
Que the four P’s:
Peeing; does an exercise cause you to accidentally leak urine or cause you to need to stop and run to the toilet?
Pressure; do you feel a bulging or heavy sensation in your pelvic floor/groin area that doesn’t feel normal at any time? This could indicate a pelvic organ prolapse.
Pain; does an exercise cause you pain anywhere in your body such as pelvic or back pain?
Peaking; do you notice a doming or peaking down the centre of your belly above and/or below you belly button, this is likely a sign of too much pressure being placed on your core, the movement/exercise you are performing is too challenging currently.
If an exercise aggravates any of these P’s, stop and reconsider your technique, modify to an easier option or you may have to temporarily stop doing this exercise until your strength improves. Pushing through despite unwanted symptoms may symptoms them worse or inhibit long term recovery. Do not ignore these symptoms.
If any of these symptoms persist, be sure to see your pelvic health physio for further assessment and guidance.
When recovering from Pregnancy and birth there are some exercises that should be temporarily avoided to reduce the risk of long term damage to your core and pelvic floor. It is recommended these exercises are avoided until you have allowed your body to rest, heal and progressively rehabilitate your pelvic floor and core muscles, and reduce your any abdominal separation (diastasis recti).
Jumping and high impact exercise
Planks, situps/crunches and full press-ups
Holding your breath
Lifting heavy weights or objects
Wide stance squats