We love helping our Mums and their bubs at Thrive! Our Ex Phys works with Mums-to-be teaching them how to exercise safely throughout their pregnancy. Lately we have seen a surge in women booking in for return to exercise advice post-partum and we are thrilled. Slowly transitioning back into exercise is crucial, and it’s great to see women getting assistance in safely returning to their favourite physical activities.
If you have recently given birth and want to get straight back into your high impact exercise or HIIT training, here’s why rushing back may not be the best idea;
Your body takes time to heal post-pregnancy, and the speed with which this occurs is different for every woman including how your bub was delivered. The muscles and ligaments in and around your pelvis expanded slowly through your pregnancy as bub grew, and as bub got heavier there was more downward pressure on your pelvic floor muscles. When muscles and ligaments are in elongated positions for extended periods of time, this can cause weakness. Post-birth the ligaments that were stretched take a long time to heal, this alongside long weak core and pelvic floor muscles causes an unstable pelvis. If we were to jump and run and lift heavy weights straight away with an unstable pelvis, there is not only a high risk of prolapse but it is the major precursor for low back, hip, knee pain and injuries.
So, what would we recommend?
After receiving your 6-week post-partum clearance for exercise, our Ex Phys performs a Movement Assessment. This Assessment looks at your posture post-pregnancy, this is where we look at how your pelvis is sitting, is it further forward due to your previous baby bump? Are your shoulders back and your chest proud or are your shoulders tired and hanging forward? How is your gait pattern? Are you still walking like you have a baby bump? Some women can continue this walking pattern for years and years. We then look at the range of motion in each of your joints, and we look at the strength around your pelvis including your core and pelvic floor muscle strength.
This assessment gives a clear picture of which muscles we need to ‘re-activate’ or strengthen in order to optimise posture, walking pattern, and eventually your running technique (if this is something you would like to get back into). If and/or when your pelvic stabilising muscles such as your core and your glutes are ‘re-activated’, it’s time to get them strong. When your pelvis is stable, your core and glute muscles are not only strong but are talking well with each other, we make sure your shoulder joint is stable and your upper back muscles have endurance. Not only will this help with the demands of breastfeeding and carrying bub, but you will be ready to lift those weights and get back into higher intensity and higher impact workouts.
If you would like to book in for a Post-Partum Movement Assessment, book in with our Exercise Physiologist for an Initial Assessment today.