Postnatal period

A new baby in the family is a time of great change, especially if it is your first.

It is a steep learning curve for most, as families adapt to the new addition; sleep is interrupted, there are nappies to be changed, extra washing to be done, all whilst getting to know your little bundle.

Looking after a baby is very demanding, both physically and psychologically.

Caring for a new baby generally involves spending a lot of time in a flexed forward posture while feeding, changing, bathing and carrying a baby.

Many people who have had a baby are keen to return to exercise as soon as possible after the birth, but are often unsure where they should start or are simply unaware of the huge impact that pregnancy and childbirth will have had on their body and how many of the changes of pregnancy persist into the postnatal period.

There is great variability in the time taken for the body to recover from the effects of pregnancy and childbirth and this will impact on the type of exercise that should be performed in the postnatal period.

The following are important considerations for postpartum exercise:

A graduated return to exercise is recommended regardless of whether the birth was a vaginal birth or caesarean section.

A continence and pelvic health physiotherapist can assist with guidance around return to your desired sport or activity.

We recommend a post-natal assessment at six weeks postpartum with a continence and pelvic health physiotherapist for guidance on return to exercise and also for those people who are concerned that they cannot feel the pelvic floor muscles working or who may be experiencing any of the following: