AFTER the BABY… What is “normal” after giving birth?

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Personal trainer, pre & postnatal fitness specialist and doula Amy de Havilland-Hall explains what you need to know about pelvic floor exercise after giving birth.

Being a mum, a woman, takes its toll on your body, whether it is the physical process of having a baby, or the lifestyle changes it brings. There is so much evidence to suggest you should rest for as long as possible after birth. Most women leave their health care after giving birth with only a handful of leaflets or instructions to “remember to do your pelvic floor exercises”, and not much idea of how to recover to full health safely. 

Did you know that some cultures have “lying-in periods”, where the new mother lies in bed with the new born for several weeks after giving birth?  Female relatives flood the home and cook, clean and care for other children, walk with a fussy new born until it is calm enough to return to the Mum to nurse. Bonding is unlimited and healing of Mum’s body endless… What a fabulous idea!

Pelvic floor

One thing that is most affected during pregnancy and birth is the wondrous pelvic floor. But do we really know an effective kegel (pelvic floor) exercise? 

Do we know what is normal in the months and years that follow after giving birth? The pelvic floor muscle is  like a sling connecting the tailbone to the pubic bone and each side of your hips. It supports the opening of the pelvic organs, keeping them strong and flexible, so it’s very important for you to maintain control of them. When these muscles weaken or become inflexible, you lose control, i.e. leak when you laugh, cough, sneeze or run. This is very common after birth but not normal, and can be helped with correct exercise.

What is correct exercise?

You should always wait 6 to 8 weeks before exercising. Your doctor needs to sign you off but just as important is to make sure that you feel ready to return to exercise. Fatigue induces high levels of cortisol (your stress hormone), and no weight loss or returning to normal will happen when that is high! 

High intensity exercise is perfect for the weight loss aspect but you need to make sure that the exercise is low impact, i.e. no planks, sit-ups, press-ups, running or jumping, as these exercises would place too much pressure on an already weakened pelvic floor. 

POW Fitness Power Of Women

Classes designed for women by women. Pregnancy Fitness: a great start to keeping fit and preparing your body for a healthy labour and quicker healing process post birth. HiLi (High Intensity Low Impact) restores your core and pelvic floor strength, making you strong on the inside and the outside. Burlesque Dance Fitness encourages coordination and constant movement, aiding weight loss, and it’s a great laugh with like-minded women. 

Please visit my website for a full list of classes, client testimonials, and to book. You can contact me directly for more information about postpartum health, or follow me on Facebook and Instagram. Tel: 07972 340 744

Email: amy@powfitness.co.uk   www.powfitness.co.uk 

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