Exercise after birth can have many beneficial effects such as helping posture return to normal, increasing strength around the pelvis and back, assisting return to pre-pregnancy weight, improving muscular tone and cardiovascular fitness, reducing incontinence, and improving your strength to help you cope with the demands of your new baby. It may also help with the recovery of pregnancy related pelvic pain and Diastasis Recti [abdominal separation], however your exercise program will need to be tailored if you are suffering with either of these conditions. Therefore, it is useful to attend a Physiotherapist-led class so you can rehabilitate safely and effectively.
Normal recommendations regarding exercise after childbirth advise 6 weeks for normal deliveries and 8 weeks for Caesarean sections. This is to allow for normal tissue healing times, and to let your body recover adequately. Bleeding may persist for up to 2 weeks after birth and your uterus can take up 6 weeks to return to its normal size.
Your ligaments can stay lax for up to 5 months after birth and so it is important that you do not overstretch during this time. It is important that you have had your 6 week postnatal check before you start your Clinical Pilates program, in order to check that you are medically safe and ready to go.
The timescales for beginning exercise vary from woman to woman and so don’t feel despondent if you don’t feel ready at 6 weeks, it may just take a little longer for some women to recover, whereas some women may feel ready to begin light exercise sooner if they had an uncomplicated delivery.
At Enliven Health we understand that you have just had a baby, you may be breastfeeding or may have childcare issues and so it is important that we accommodate for your newborns at this time. Therefore, feel free to bring them along to your class, they will enjoy the social interaction while you exercise!
It is important that you have an initial assessment before starting your Clinical Pilates program after childbirth. This is to make sure that you know the basics before entering the class and to start you on a gentle home exercise program that is specific to you. It is also important to determine if you have any Diastasis Recti [abdominal muscle separation] which may mean that you are unable to perform certain exercises in the class.
Instead you will need to undergo a more specific route of exercising your abdominal muscles. It is also important that you are screened for any incontinence or pelvic pain after childbirth as certain exercises may affect this.
The initial assessment will take one hour at a time that is convenient for you. You will not require a letter from your GP if you had an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery however you will require a letter if you had a more complicated delivery or medical presentation.