Exercise (done right) is fantastic for both our physical and mental health. During and after pregnancy there are some extra factors that need to be taken into account to make sure that the exercise and physical activity you are doing is suitable for your body in its current state.
Returning to exercise after pregnancy and childbirth depends on many things, such as how active you were before and during pregnancy, your birthing journey and delivery type, genetics, your health, and what type of exercise or physical activity you would like to get back to. Luckily, physiotherapists are well equipped to help guide you on your journey back to your desired level of exercise and physical activity. We recommend all women have a check-up with their physiotherapist trained in Women’s Health at the six week (or after) mark to start the process of planning your return to physical activity, have your pelvic floor function and pelvic organ position checked, progress or commence abdominal and functional re-training and address any concerns you may have. During this appointment our physiotherapists trained in Women’s Health will assess all of the factors that will influence your safe return to physical activity and help you implement a plan to get back to doing the activities that you love.
Variables that affect safe return to exercise and physical activity after childbirth
Pelvic floor function – strength, endurance and co-ordination
Pelvic organ position – how well the pelvic organs are supported and if there is any pelvic organ prolapse that needs to be considered/managed.
Delivery type – Caesarean section or vaginal delivery
Connective tissue recovery – the connective tissues of the pelvis remain soft and are more easily stretched for several months after giving birth. Genetics will also affect this as some people have firm connective tissue whilst others have more stretchy connective tissue.
Exercise or physical activity type – exercises that put more load on the pelvic organs and pelvic floor (e.g. running, jumping, moderate-heavy weights) typically take longer to return to safely than low pressure activities (e.g. swimming, bike riding, Pilates, Yoga).
Whatever your return to exercise of physical activity goal is, from the daily rigors of chasing around after your children to participation in elite sports and everything in between, our physiotherapists trained in Women’s Health will help you safely achieve your physical activity goals.