Following delivery and the hazy “newborn phase”, many women desire a return of their “pre-pregnancy” body, the return of their self confidence and the ability to return to an intimate relationship with their partner. For many, an important part of this transition is to have a thorough understanding of how their body may have changed through pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. These processes include a combination of hormonal, physical and emotional influences. Women need to feel empowered with the knowledge to make decisions that are safe for their bodies through this vulnerable period.
September 8th 2015 marks World Physical Therapy Day, and the entire team at Alana Healthcare for Women celebrates this and wants to raise awareness of the integral part a physiotherapist might play in assisting you through the sometimes delicate process of caring for your body during and after childbirth. Women’s health physiotherapy supports women through their transition from the pre to postnatal state. Physiotherapists are able to assess, discuss and advise on the many physical and emotional changes occurring at this important time.
The physical changes that take place during pregnancy that are an important focus when returning to physical activity and safe exercise postnatally include prevention of issues in the pelvic floor, pelvic organs and abdominal muscles. Your Alana physiotherapist will assisted you in regaining your confidence and understanding your body, ensuring a smooth and safe transition back to complete health. We will evaluate risk factors that may contribute to future bladder, bowel, pelvic floor and abdominal muscle problems and provide you with a framework for long-term care in these areas.
Some of the common concerns that we see in clinic surrounding postnatal body image and recovery include:
- Changes to the abdominal wall (including separation of the abdominal muscles and overall abdominal/core weakness);
- Back pain;
- Pelvic floor weakness (which may present as reduced confidence with bladder and/or bowel control); and
- Wrist and hand pain (often a result from new repetitive tasks involving newborn care).
It is common for women to be determined in the process of regaining their “pre-baby” physical state. Unfortunately, long term problems may arise when their exercise program is inappropriate or loads their bodies too quickly. It is often difficult for women to be certain of this timeline themselves, and it may be better to have a greater understanding of the safe level of exercise for your individual circumstance – and this is where you Alana physiotherapist can assist as you begin to take these important first steps towards better long term health for you and your family.