By Adelaide Women's Physio | June 27, 2016
No-one told me it would be so tiring! Childbirth is probably one of the most physically demanding things you can do, and before you know it the physical and mental demands of looking after a new born are upon you as a mother. These demands can take a toll on your body. Persistent pain in your joints and muscles, painful intercourse and incontinence are all common problems after having a baby and although they are common they are NOT ‘normal’. At Physiotherapy for Women we can help you reduce or eliminate these problems and guide you back into activity safely.
Childbirth and the postpartum period are extremely physically demanding. After having a baby whether by a vaginal delivery or caesarean birth your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor muscles have been stretched. It is important that you rehabilitate your body correctly to restore your normal daily function and prevent pain. Putting up with discomfort in the hope that will go away eventually is not a wise move.
Many women want to rush back into activity to lose the ‘baby weight’ however by doing this you may be doing exercises that create pain, incontinence (urine, gas or bowel movement loss) or descent of your pelvic organs. It is important to understand what exercise is appropriate and when and where to start.
What is normal after having a baby?
During the immediate postpartum period it is normal to feel some pelvic heaviness and discomfort, and to have some aches and pains. However if these problems persist beyond 6-8 weeks or are too severe you should see a physiotherapist who has a special interest and training in postnatal physiotherapy.
What is not normal after having a baby (6-8 weeks)?
• Ongoing muscular pain including back, pelvis, groin or abdominal pain.
• Leakage of urine, gas or faeces at any time (leakage when coughing, sneezing, jumping, lifting etc. is common but not normal)
• Frequent urination or urgency
• Pressure, heaviness or bulging in the vagina or rectum
• Feeling like you are not able to completely empty your bladder or bowels
• Sexual pain after 6weeks
• Painful scar tissue (from caesarean incisions or episiotomies and tears)
• Bulging of your abdomen during any exercise (see our blog on stomach separation)
• Difficulty doing everyday tasks
• Blocked milk ducts or mastitis (not normal at any time postpartum)
If you have any of these symptoms it is advised you see a women’s health physiotherapist.
At Physiotherapy for Women we can assist you with all of these issues. Do not do sit ups or intense core exercises, your physiotherapist can guide you in correctly improving your abdominal strength.
What does a physiotherapy consultation involve?
Your physiotherapist will:
• Ask you questions and want to know what is important for you to achieve
• Perform a thorough assessment of the muscles/joints involved in the presenting issue
• Include an internal examination if pelvic floor muscle weakness or dysfunction is the prime presenting problem
• Educate you on what is happening in your body
• Develop an individual treatment plan in consultation with you. This may include: manual therapy, massage, home exercises, advice, ultrasound or use of supporting devises (e.g. taping, belts)
• Help you become stronger, more functional and guide you on reaching your goals.