In post natal physiotherapy at Ace Health Centre the primary focus for treatment after delivering a baby is for the mother is often rest and taking care of the baby. So much so, the mother’s recovery is often neglected. In the six months after childbirth, the mother’s body also needs extra care. The mother’s body has gone through hormonal changes, where ligaments have become softened to accomodate for the growing baby. The pelvic floor muscles and the abdominal ligaments have been stretched out. Therefore, it is imperative to visit a physiotherapist to properly rehabilitate to prevent injuries and other common post-pregnancy complications. Below are some of the most common post-pregnancy conditions the mother may experience.
Post Natal Bladder problems after childbirth
Some common bladder problems include difficulty starting the flow of urine, incomplete emptying of the bladder, leakage of urine and reduced sensation of bladder filing. Most bladder problems improve in the first two weeks, if it does not, please contact a physiotherapist regarding your bladder problems.
Post Natal Good Bowel habits
In Post Natal Physiotherapy straining and constipation can weaken the pelvic floor muscle and may cause fissures and prolapse. Therefore, good toileting habits are important. Some good tips are as follows. Going to the pass a bowel motion as soon as you get an urge, sitting up correctly keeping the back straight, leaning forward , resting the forearms on the knees bulging the stomach out and feet on a small footstool if your feet do not touch the ground.
Abdominal separation or diastasis of the rectus abdomens (DRAM)
The abdominal ligaments have softened and separated throughout pregnancy to accomodate for the growing baby. After birth, there is very little tension in the fascia in between the abdominal muscles. Therefore, the quicker a physiotherapist can assess the degree of the abdominal separation and rehabilitate it, the quicker the mother can regain strength and lessen the DRAM whilst the ligaments are still soft.
Post Natal Weakness of pelvic floor
The weight of your baby over the course of the pregnancy has stretched on the pelvic floor muscles. Therefore, you can imagine how weak it is. The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for holding your pelvic organs up to prevent prolapse and also holds your urine and faeces in when you do not want to pass it to prevent incontinence.
Even if you have stitches or swelling straight after birth, gentle contractions of the pelvic floor muscle can help improve circulation and reduce swelling. Many people think they know how to do a pelvic floor contraction. However, they sometimes either do it incorrectly, or incompletely, or are unable to do it at all. Therefore, it is important to seek the guidance of a Post Natal physiotherapist.
General weakness of muscles affected by pregnancy
Exercise is important after pregnancy when doing Post Natal Physiotherapy as it helps with physical recovery of muscles affected by pregnancy and childbirth. Post pregnancy, a lot of time is spent lifting, bending and sitting more than usual. This increase in activity when taking care of your newborn in combination with weakness of your muscles increases your risk of a back injury. Therefore, retraining and strengthening your muscles to support your joints has great benefits straight after delivery. Other benefits of exercise includes weight control and facilitation with mental wellbeing. Exercise should be gradual and should be prescribed by a physiotherapist to avoid injuries as it often takes 6 months or longer for your body to recover.