After delivery of your baby, there may be some exercises you can begin right away. For uncomplicated deliveries, isometric contraction (tensing the muscle without moving your body) of the pelvic floor muscles through a kegel exercise and isometric contraction of the stabilizing muscles of the upper and lower back can help get you back on track and feeling more comfortable right away. Kegel exercises help improve blood flow and reduce swelling in the sometimes floor of the pelvis/region of the birth canal. Shoulder blade squeezes can help improve firing and circulation in the posture muscles that are used to support you as you hold your new baby. Sometimes it is difficult to feel or to adequately contract these muscles without guidance, and our physical therapists can teach you techniques to be more effective.
Most doctors agree that by 4-8 weeks after a normal vaginal delivery and 8 weeks after a cesarean delivery, you can begin an exercise routine. James F Clapp III, MD reports on his research in his book Exercising Through Your Pregnancy that many women are able to return to a safe exercise routine by two weeks post partum. It is important to start at the right intensity level and time for you which will be determined somewhat by your pregnancy fitness level, your body type, how your delivery went, and how you and your baby are faring post partum. Your physical therapist can assess where to start and give you tips on when and how to safely progress. It is important to protect your joints and have good form during your exercise because your joints stay loose and more vulnerable for some time after pregnancy. We can also give you ideas on how to exercise so that your baby gets a “work out” too and you both have fun together. For more, see our newsletter Get back on Track for the New Year.
We can help re-align your body after delivery of your child, which can put you back on track for a good recovery. It usually takes 6 months after you stop breast feeding for your levels of relaxin (a hormone responsible for making your ligaments more loose) to return to normal. This means it is really important to prevent malalignment by using proper body mechanics. Our physical therapists can teach you to move correctly as you care for your child and yourself.
For more see Pelvic Pain