Pregnancy and childbirth cause extensive changes to the body. Regaining fitness and returning to exercise after having a baby can require help from your physiotherapist.
In particular abdominal separation (diastasis recti) and pelvic floor issues may need to be assessed and exercise programs undertaken to recondition these muscles.
Postpartum pelvic floor issues
Whether you have a vaginal birth or a caesarean section, pelvic floor muscles require reconditioning after pregnancy and birth. Childbirth injuries such as tearing and episiotomy may require an assessment and rehabilitation.
Pelvic floor exercises after birth
It is important to recondition your pelvic floor muscles after having a baby, this can start 1-2 days after birth or a little longer after c-section (wait until your catheter is out). Pelvic floor exercises are important to regain bladder and bowel control and to prevent/protect prolapse.
Tight pelvic floor after birth
After having a baby your pelvic floor may be tight and cause pain with intercourse. This can also affect bladder and bowel function. You may need to do pelvic floor relaxation exercises to address this
Abdominal separation/Diastisis Recti symptoms
After having a baby you may be able to see a gap between your six pack muscles of your tummy( rectus abdominis), this may be more noticeable if you lift your head off the pillow when lying down. You may notice a bulge in the middle of your tummy when you activate your tummy muscles. You may have lower back pain, as weak tummy muscles can contribute to this. You may find you have poor posture, and a separation can contribute to constipation and bloating.
Abdominal separation/Diastisis Recti treatment
Diastasis recti is a normal function of pregnancy, the connective tissue in the middle of your abdomen thins and widens to make room for your growing baby. Treatment usually involves avoiding heavy tasks/difficult exercises until you are strong enough to do them, as well as a progressive strengthening program for your abdominal and pelvic muscles.
How can physio help me after having a baby?
Physio can help after having your baby by assessing your pelvic floor, abdominal muscles and any other muscle or joint issues that you may have after being pregnant and giving birth. Advice and exercise programs can be provided to address any reconditioning that is required to meet your postpartum goals.