We were talking the other day about baby’s and how much we love them, and how we loved carrying them, growing them, nursing them, nurturing them and all the great things that our bodies did. The conversation then turned to, the question “did you expect your body to bounce back after baby?”. After my first, my postpartum body barely recovered and I was pregnant with baby #2, my body freaked out, my hormones tripped out and It was harder for me to recover postpartum. Rachelle has a different story with her first 2, there was a couple years between them and she recovered and bounced back quickly, her next 2 are 16 months apart like my girls and she said that it was harder on her body. We sat looking at pictures and then started talking about how much we wished we knew so many things to help our bodies to heal and how to support the process the right way. I reached out to my amazing friend Terri Nishimoto from N2 Physical Therapy in Denver and asked her advice on your Post Baby Body and she gave me this really great information. Take a look, read it and if you need her she is AMAZING go check her out!
Sarah and Rachelle
Your Postpartum Body Belly, Back and Bottoms
As a physical therapist that specializes in Women’s Health, the most common questions I receive from my postpartum new Moms are questions about the “three Bs”. The Belly, the Back and the Bottom.
Did you know that in France, a new Mom can have 10-20 visits of physical therapy after giving birth? The physical therapy is geared not only towards teaching correct abdominal and pelvic floor exercises; but also treating issues such as pain with intercourse, incontinence, and scar tissue management. I would be ecstatic to see a new Mom for even one visit after their 6 week follow up with their OB/Gyn. But let’s talk about the three B’s for your postpartum body.
The Postpartum Belly
The abdominal wall goes through the most drastic changes of all the muscles during pregnancy. The muscles gradually lengthen over the nine months, and often many Moms will have what is known as diastasis rectus abdominis, which is defined as a separation of the rectus abdominis muscles. A women’s health physical therapist can assess if you have a diastasis and get you started on proper corrective postural and strengthening exercises. The best exercise to start with is what is known as a transverse abdominis contraction.
Start with sitting or lying down on your back. Place your hands over the lower part of your abdomen. Inhale gently and as you exhale draw your lower and deeper abdominals upward and inward. Keep the spine neutral, do not clench the buttocks or hold your breath! Learning to do this correctly will be key to more advanced abdominal exercises and good body mechanics.
The Postpartum Bottom
The pelvic floor muscles, the nerves and the fascia also go through major changes after childbirth. The pelvic floor muscles can lose their ability to tighten and contract, as well as their ability to relax; it is critical to be able to do both. These changes can result in prolapse of the pelvic organs, incontinence, or pain with intercourse. A pelvic floor physical therapist can assess your muscles to help you learn to do pelvic floor contraction and relaxation correctly.
The Postpartum Back
With the amount of bending and lifting a new Mom does throughout the day from changing diapers to carrying car seats it makes sense that back pain is one of the most common complaints post- delivery. But the best way to treat your back is to use good body mechanics and work on your transverse abdominis as described above.
Strengthening your core muscles, using proper body mechanics along with good cardio and healthy nutrition are all keys to getting your postpartum body back after baby.
If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact one of our offices at N2 Physical Therapy.
Terri Nishimoto PT, CLT