As a new mother it can be hard to find time for yourself amongst the adjustment to new routines and sleeplessness. One of the last things that you can find the time to do is exercise. Post-Natal exercise is an important part of the post-natal recovery period and has been found to help reduce the chances of obesity, help increase strength and endurance for the tasks of mothering, assist with preventing lactation related bone density loss and improve general mood.1
One of the challenges postnatally, other than finding the time to exercise, is ensuring that exercise is completed safely. A recent article published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggested that up to 56% of new mothers have some form of pelvic organ prolapse between 3-6 months postnatally1 and 15-30% of first time mothers report urinary incontinence post birth.2 Both of these issues that can be aggravated by an accelerated return to exercise without appropriate rehabilitation after birth.
Most people know that after a muscular injury that rehabilitation is needed to help facilitate recovery, however most people don’t have the same way of thinking when it comes to the pelvic floor and the recovery post-natally. During pregnancy and birth the pelvic muscles are stretched and widened significantly, without effective rehabilitation these muscles can have challenges functioning optimally throughout the postnatal period and later on in life. Recent evidence suggests that it takes at least 4-6 months post birth for these pelvic muscle tissues to heal, compared to the six weeks which is usually used as the benchmark for the return to exercise.3 Similarly for those who have a C-Section the abdominal tensile strength is only at 73-93% of its tensile strength pre- birth by 6-7 months postnatal.4
In the postnatal period it is important to work on both the pelvic floor muscles, abdominals in a safe and graduated manner along with any other areas which may have been affected in the pregnancy or birth processes. A good option to return to exercise efficiently and safely is Post-Natal specific Pilates. Here at Bend + Mend we are able to tailor a specific Pilates exercise program for you by qualified physiotherapists to get you back to what you like to do. We also understand that finding time to fit in time for yourself can be a challenge so we are now offering in addition to our in-clinic services, online Telehealth sessions to get you started on your journey.
Our Telehealth mat Pilates sessions are specific to your needs and can ensure you receive effective and guided rehabilitation during the postnatal period, all from the comfort of your own home with your baby nearby. If you need help postnatally get in contact with one of our friendly physiotherapists in Sydney CBD.
- Bø, K. Artal, R., Barakat, R., Brown, W. J., Davies, G. A. L., Dooley, M., Evenson, K. R., Haakstad, L. A. H., Kayser, B., Kinnunen, T. I., Larsénm K., Mottola, M. F., Nygaard, I., van Poppel, M., Stuge, B., Khan, K. M. (2017) Exercise and pregnancy in recreational and elite athletes: 2016/17 evidence summary from the IOC Expert Group Meeting, Lausanne. Part 3-exercise in the postpartum period. Br J Sports Med 51(21), pp.1516-1525.
- Milsom, I., Coyne, K., Nicholson, S., Kvasz, M., Chen, C. and Wein, A. (2014). Global Prevalence and Economic Burden of Urgency Urinary Incontinence: A Systematic Review. European Urology, 65(1), pp.79-95
- Ceydeli, A., Rucinski, J. and Wise, L. (2005) Finding the best abdominal closure: an evidence-based review of the literature. Curr Surg 62, pp.220–5.
- Stær-Jensen, J., Siafarikas, F., Hilde, G., Benth, J.Š., Bø, K. and Engh, M.E. (2015) Postpartum recovery of levator hiatus and bladder neck mobility in relation to pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol 125, pp.531–539.