Post-natal recovery – what can I do to help my body other than pelvic floor exercises?
Having babies takes a serious toll on the body. There’s no rush to get things back to how they were pre babies or even to get back there at all but sometimes it’s nice to be able to give your body a helping hand – if you feel you need it. It’s hard to know what to do though and often the only advice given is to do pelvic floor exercises.
So here’s a few other, useful things you can do to help recovery..
Pregnancy, breastfeeding or just being a mum in general can leave you a bit depleted. Pregnancy means your body prioritises baby over you so most people are normally a bit run down in the postnatal stage. It’s not always picked up on because many people aren’t sleeping well and one of the first signs of most deficiencies is tiredness or low mood.
A good quality, food source multivitamin/mineral supplement can really help. I can’t promise you’ll be feeling very well rested after but every little helps and it might be enough to stop you feeling like a zombie.
2. Diastasis recti healing
This is where the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy. They usually go back together by themselves in the first few months but it’s really important not to do crunches or planks or similar exercises until it has healed as this increases the gap and strengthens the separation.
Sometimes it doesn’t go back by itself or takes a long time. This reduces core strength and increases pelvic floor issues. Side planks, glut bridges and leg raises from all fours are all exercises that help the separation repair.
For more help identifying if you have this problem and more details on how to heal it why not come along to the Love Your Tummy workshop on the 19th October for some in depth diastasis help.
3. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Accept now you cannot do everything and you are going to save yourself a lot of undeserved stress. There’s too much to do, too little time and not enough sleep.
Get some help where you need it but ultimately don’t sweat the small stuff. Focus on what makes you happy or stresses you out the most if it’s not done but some of it really can wait until tomorrow.
4. Scar tissue massage for c-section recovery
If you’ve had a caesarean section, it usually takes longer to recover from the birth for the obvious reason that you’ve had major surgery on top of all the usual post natal recovery to heal from. Scarring can cause extra problems too with discomfort, pain, digestive issues and making it harder to get in shape if you want but there is something you can do about it.
Use some coconut oil (natural oil is crucial – anything with chemicals is best avoided due to poor circulation around the scar making it harder to clear out of your system). Gently apply to the scar and then do small circles as deep as is COMFORTABLE – no deeper – back and forth across the scar.
This helps break up scar tissue and reduce any related issues when done regularly. Please wait until 10 weeks post surgery before massaging. For more in depth details on how to massage scarring and break up the tissue quicker check out the Love Your Tummy workshop. Or get in touch with me for a one-to-one session.
5. Post natal friendly exercises
Exercise isn’t just about changing shape – it helps blood pressure, releases endorphins, improves sleep quality, improves core strength – all things pregnancy messes with.
I know you might be feeling a bit tired but post natal friendly exercise can be more gentle and is tailored to your situation like post natal yoga. Joining a class is also a fun, friendly way to meet other mums.
6. Help your posture
Pregnancy puts a lot of strain on your posture and once baby has arrived it’s not necessarily much better. Hours in awkward positions feeding, trying to get them to sleep or just because you’ve fallen asleep on the sofa a bit knackered all takes it’s toll.
Yoga or pilates is a great way to help your body and posture. There’s some great post-natal classes around or even just some YouTube videos. Doing something like this even a few minutes a day or a good session once a week (whatever you have time for) can really help avoid back problems which is the last thing you need with a little one to look after.
If you are already struggling with back or pelvis issues (very common after having a baby) then there is some great post natal help around to realign you. Osteopaths are great for this kind of thing and some specialise in post natal work.
It can be a bit of the a shock after your first baby comes out and you look down and see how much of the pregnancy body is still there (I know it was for me!) but remember it takes 9 months to get that way and in 9 months a lot will have gone back to what you were used to.
Muscle tone returns more, abdominal muscles knit together, pelvis returns to it’s normal place and you gradually feel more human as baby starts to sleep better. There’s no rush so allow your body time to do its thing.
Having said that there is no need to suffer if something is causing you problem. If you have back pain, pelvic pain, headaches – anything – you have got enough on your plate without forcing yourself to struggle through problems.