The childbearing year, brings with it so many changes, both physically and emotionally. The physical changes of pregnancy are well documented but what happens after birth? And what is the best way to get back in shape?
During the post natal period, the body is once again going through many changes affecting joints, muscles and ligaments. Pregnancy hormone levels are decreasing, and therefore their effect on weakening the ligaments of the pelvis, spine and joints are also diminishing. However, pain syndromes can still develop or continue due to the unstable nature of these joints.
During pregnancy, the abdominal muscles stretch and split, called a rectus diastasis. Postnatally, this rectus diastasis does start to close, however it can take many months. Performing certain abdominal exercises whilst the rectus muscles are not back together can actually lead to injury, rather than assist recovery.
Despite a natural, assisted or Caesarian delivery, the pelvic floor muscles undergo immense strain during pregnancy and delivery. It is vital that these muscles strengthen up again to prevent pelvic floor dysfunction.
Pelvic floor dysfunction includes conditions such as incontinence, pelvic pain or pelvic organ prolapse.
The post natal period also sees the many new challenges of looking after a baby. This entails many new postures for the body, such as when breast feeding, carrying, changing, settling a baby. These new tasks and postures can often lead to postural pain in the low back, mid back and neck/shoulder region.
A Postnatal Physiotherapy assessment is a great way to ensure your body is recovering and can help you safely plan for what’s ahead, whether that’s return to sport/gym, preventing future problems or planning for another baby!
A Postnatal Physiotherapy consult will:
- discuss your pregnancy/ delivery to identify any areas of concern
- assess the stability and movement of your joints
- assess your abdominal muscles
- assess your pelvic floor muscles
- assist in developing strategies for maintaining good posture whilst looking after baby
- formulate a safe exercise / rehabilitation plan suited to your needs and your future plans/ goals
A physiotherapist can also help with other post natal conditions such as:
- carpel tunnel
- spinal / pelvic pain
- lack of bladder control / urinary urges
So why not get ‘Back into shape after Bub’, and book an appointment with Kathryn Meade, our Women’s Physiotherapist.