POST-PARTUM FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Does abdominal separation cause back/pelvic/hip pain?
While it is frequently thought abdominal separation causes back, pelvic and/or hip pain, there is no evidence to suggest this is the case. While it may be a contributing factor, there are many aspects to back, pelvic and/or hip pain, particularly in the post-partum period.
How soon after I have a baby can I return to running/sport?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions we hear. Unfortunately, there isn’t a specific timeframe as there are so many variables. Things that affect how long it may take you to return to sport include (but are not limited to);
– How active you were during your pregnancy, and what type of activity you were able to maintain during your pregnancy?
– Did you have a vaginal or caesarian delivery?
– Are you breastfeeding?
– Have you started any exercise since the delivery of your baby?
– Have you seen a Women’s Health Physiotherapist?
Should I see a Women’s Health Physiotherapist after having my baby? I don’t think I have any pelvic floor problems…
At The Injury Clinic we suggest all women consult with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist Post Partum. Even if you don’t have any symptoms that indicate a potential problem, we frequently see women many years post partum who end up having concerns that need to be addressed by a Women’s Health Physiotherapist. We feel it is best to address these concerns before they become a problem. In saying this, The Injury Clinic Physiotherapists are always happy to consult with you and begin addressing any post-partum concerns you have even if you haven’t consulted with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist.
High-impact vs low-impact exercise… should I wait longer to get back into high-impact exercise?
In short, yes. There are many different loads and forces that travel through your body with high impact exercise. The tricky thing to establish is when it is appropriate to return to high impact exercise; this is where The Injury Clinic Physiotherapists will be able to help you!
I’m breastfeeding… Are there things I need to be wary of or avoid?
While breastfeeding isn’t a reason to avoid exercise, it does pay to try and time feeds prior to your workout, wear a supportive bra (this means being specially fitted for a sports bra post partum) and ensure you drink plenty of water. There is some evidence to suggest there can be lactic acid in breastmilk after maximal exercise, but it is not thought this affects the nutrients available nor does it harm the baby in any way. In mild-moderate exercise there is no increase in lactate.
I had a caesarian section… Are there different ‘rules’ for me?
In short, no, there aren’t a specific set of rules for post-partum mothers who had a caesarian delivery; however, there isn’t a ‘one-size fits all’ approach to the return to exercise post-caesarian. Similar to a vaginal birth, a woman’s recovery will vary significantly so it is always best to ensure you don’t compare your recovery to someone else you know. Considerations must be given to healing of the scar, which not only passes through the skin and uterus but also through layers of abdominal muscles. This abdominal muscle tissue and fasica will have only regained approximately 50% of its original strength at 6-weeks post partum, and 73-93% of the original strength at 6-7months post partum.
When can I start to exercise after I have my baby? And what kind of exercise should I start with?
Returning to exercise post-partum will be slightly different for each woman. It will depend largely on what type of birth you had (vaginal vs caesarian) and how you recover. The other factor to consider is how active you were during your pregnancy; often those who are able to remain active throughout their pregnancy are able to return to exercise sooner than those who were more sedentary (but not always). As a general rule, before you have your 6-week check-up you should only be completing your pelvic floor exercises and gentle walking. With walking, remember to start gently and build slowly – this might mean a 5minute walk on the flat pushing the pram initially.
For the majority of women, at their 6-week follow up appointment they will be ‘cleared’ to return to exercise. This does not mean you should go straight from gentle walking the usual exercise you did prior to becoming pregnant. The build should continue to be gradual, with gentle strengthening exercises introduced. It is at this point that Physiotherapists at The Injury Clinic would recommend seeing a Women’s Health Physiotherapist. They will be able to ensure you are completing your pelvic floor exercises correctly, and give you any other exercises that will aid your recovery. Once you are feeling comfortable with these and feel you need something to challenge you further, Physiotherapists at The Injury Clinic will be able to guide you with appropriate exercises that will gradually progress until you are able to return to your full, normal exercise and activity.