Your post pregnancy body
Your post pregnancy body
You’ve done it! You’ve grown your baby for 9 months, delivered them safely into the world and have begun your motherhood journey. Everybody is cooing over your baby and excited for you and your new family whilst you are knee-deep with nappy changing, feeding and getting your head around caring for your new baby.
With all the stress, exhaustion and anxiety that comes with a new baby, it is easy to forget about your own needs or to brush aside any niggling concerns, putting them down to “normal post pregnancy problems”. But it is important to look after you and your health too, as the old adage goes, a happy mum means a happy baby. Whilst some pain or discomfort continuation is common post birth, you do not need to put up with it as it can often be sorted easily with some gentle exercises and advice.
Some common post-birth concerns include:
If you had back pain or pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy, it usually clears up post birth or up to 6-8 weeks post delivery. Any lingering pain however may, in the first instance, be posture related. Feeding your baby and staying in the same position for long periods of time can be tiring on back muscles. To help, keep your back and arms supported with extra cushions when sat feeding. Also, keep both feet of the floor to allow your weight to be equally distributed through your pelvis and lower back.
When picking something up, instead of bending over, which can put pressure on your lower back, take a step forward and lower yourself down into a split squat (this is great as it strengthens your legs too when you come back up into standing!). When changing your baby’s nappies, do it on a raised surface (keeping an eye on your baby to keep them safe!) or on the floor with you kneeling.
More advice on looking after your back can be found in this previous blog post.
When growing a baby, your pelvic floor is working extra hard to support you and baby. Once your baby is born, like any muscle after a long workout, your pelvic floor may well feel tired or a bit weaker causing you to leak when you cough, sneeze, laugh or stand up. You may also get a feeling of heaviness between your legs. But, again, like all muscles, you can strengthen your pelvic floor.
To strengthen your pelvic floor, you need to know where to ‘squeeze’:
Firstly, clench your back passage as if trying to stop yourself from passing wind. Relax.
Next, squeeze as if you’re trying to stop yourself mid-flow. Relax
Finally, squeeze your vagina as if you don’t want a tampon to be pulled out. Relax.
Whichever squeeze felt the strongest, work with that. Aim to do 10 short squeezes (making sure you feel your pelvic floor relax between clenches), followed by a long squeeze (no more than 10 seconds) 1 to 3 times a day.
You can do your pelvic floor muscle exercises when sitting (and feeding your baby), standing (while rocking your baby) or lying down when resting. There are loads of apps available that can talk you through your pelvic floor exercises and set helpful reminders too (Squeezy App is NHS approved)!
For more details, click here to read another article focused entirely on the pelvic floor.
Separated tummy muscles
In the 3rd trimester, it is common for your stomach muscles (the abdominals) to separate to allow room for your womb and your baby to grow. This is called Diastasis Recti and is a natural part of late stage pregnancy. Once your baby is born, the abdominal muscles usually return to normal after around 8 weeks. Performing daily pelvic floor exercises can help reduce the size of the separation too.
If you have any questions about how your post birth body is recovering or impacting your fitness levels, or would like a post pregnancy MOT, why not book in with Róisín today.
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