Exercises Post-Partum (after giving birth)
Written by Nathalie et YuXin,
Pelvic Floor Anatomy:
Your inner core is made up of 4 muscle groups. These groups of muscles work together to maintain proper internal pressure within your abdomen. These muscles include:
- The deep abdominals (transverse abdominus (TA))
- The deep spinal muscles (multifidus)
- The diaphragm
- The pelvic floor
The pelvic floor is made up of 3 layers of muscles which have 5 key functions. These functions are:
- To help support our organs (bladder, bowels, and uterus) against gravity
- To help maintain control of our bladder and bowels
- To provide stability to our spine and pelvis in conjunction with the other inner core muscles
- To increase sexual satisfaction by helping with orgasms, sensation with sexual activity, and pain-free intercourse
- To act as a pump to bring blood and lymphatics back to the heart with each contraction
Changes During and After Pregnancy:
When one of these systems stops working optimally, the others will work overtime as compensation. This can increase the pressure on one of the other systems and lead to dysfunction. During and after pregnancy, these muscle groups can be affected. When your pelvic floor is weak or overworked this can cause symptoms such as difficulty controlling your bladder and bowels, giving the feeling of fullness or pressure in the pelvic area, persistent pelvic pain, and pain with intercourse. Exercising post-partum is a great way to regain control over your inner core.
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy:
Exercising post-partum usually starts 6 weeks post-partum or after you’ve been cleared by your doctor. Pelvic floor physiotherapists can provide treatments for common issues such as the loss of control of your bladder and bowels, pain with intercourse, pelvic pain, and diastasis (abdominal separation) or simply help you to go back to your previous physical activities. A physio will take a thorough medical history and ask questions about your pain, bladder and bowel, and sexual function. An evaluation might include assessments of your breathing, posture, movement patterns and pelvic floor function. Pelvic floor physiotherapists have advanced training and skills to assess your pelvic floor through internal examination. This is a gentle exam to assess the functions of the pelvic floor and the pelvic organs. The physiotherapist will then use this information to give you a treatment plan that is individualized to your specific needs and interests.
Exercising Post-Partum, not as simple as just the Kegel exercise:
Your pelvic floor and abdominals are part of your inner core, which provides stability to your spine and pelvis. Proper activation of your pelvic floor and deep abdominals is important to progress exercises. Foundational exercises to work on post-partum include:
- Deep breathing exercises: your pelvic floor just spent 9 months working hard to hold your baby. Being able to relax your pelvic floor is just as important as being able to contract it. A pelvic floor physiotherapist will be able to guide you on how to properly relax your pelvic floor and contract it with breathing techniques.
- Deep abdominal activation exercises: learning to reconnect with your abdominals can be tricky after pregnancy, especially if you’re dealing with issues such as diastasis. Your pelvic floor physiotherapist can help learn to engage your core and progress you through activities in a variety of positions to strengthen your abdominals.
If you are interested to learn more about pelvic floor exercises and treatments, to consult for diastasis, incontinence, pelvic pain or pain during sex, do not hesitate to contact with us! Our well-trained physiotherapists are here to help you!
Image : https://www.babycenter.ca/a196/postpartum-exercise—is-your-body-ready