Postpartum Power Up is for all you moms out there, whether you had a baby last month or 10 years ago! Postpartum is not just talking about new moms, it’s moms of all ages!
And yes, “going below” is taking about the vagina and the surrounding muscles known as the pelvic floor. You will not be able to fully recover after having a baby without including them in the mix. However recovery involves so much more than just “kegels.”
A colleague of mine has said “Once postpartum, always postpartum.” This is talking about all the changes that our body goes through while pregnant and then delivery process. The abdominal muscles are stretched, the pelvic floor muscles take a beating with all the pressure of the baby, not to mention trauma of delivery. Muscles are weakened and less support is given to our bladder and other internal organs. Scar tissue can effect mobility such as from C-sections, or maybe tearing along the vaginal opening has left painful scars.
Unless these issues have been treated, your body has never had a chance to fully recover, leaving you at risk…
Can you relate to any of these….
- Do you experience painful intercourse?
- When you sneeze you leak a few drops but tell yourself it’s no big deal?
- Have a noticeable gap in your abdominals or doming when exercising and want to learn exercises to “fix it?”
- Want to know the right exercises so you can reduce the “baby pooch.”
- Have been told you have a pelvic organ prolapse and now you are scared to exercise, or not sure what’s OK to even do?
- Want to get back to your normal routine of exercise, but so much conflicting advice out there makes it confusing…….and sounds so restrictive……
- Having episodes of low back or pelvic pain that is interfering with your activity level?
Here are some numbers to show you that you ARE NOT alone….
60% of postpartum women report stress urinary incontinence
64% report having painful intercourse in the first year following childbirth
77% experience low back pain that interfere with daily tasks
50% of postpartum women have pelvic organ prolapse, (in some cases women do not realize they even have it to begin with)
So why isn’t help after delivery offered to women?
In my opinion it’s because doctors are concerned with the immediate well-being of the mom and baby, that all the other issues (in the doctor’s mind) do not take priority, or even cross their mind to be honest. Plus my opinion is that at the 6 week check up with doctors, women are focusing on baby so much, and their “normal routine” isn’t back in the picture yet. Once they are cleared for intercourse and exercise at the 6 or 8 week mark post-delivery, this is when symptoms will present themselves. Where is the much needed support now?
This is where we want to take over, passing the baton so to speak…
As a PT that has worked in a major hospital setting for a number of years. I always knew this gap between having a baby and getting back to your routine in life existed! I would see someone for pain issues, see them maybe 5-8 times pending insurance approval, help get them better, and off they went, never in most cases to be seen again. Maybe they were a runner that wanted to get back to running, or enjoyed working out at a gym, but because insurance only covers so many visits, or they had met their original goals, treatment came to a halt before they reached their full potential.
The postpartum population is one of the most underserved in the health community, hands down!
Imagine what happens to a canoe if a cannon is resting in the canoe, and the cannon is shot? Can you imagine how wobbly the canoe would be? This is a perfect example of how our pelvic floor and core muscles react to exercise, without a strong foundation, our body is compromised.
Our goal is to promote healing and help with any pain related issues that may be present first in the recovery process. Once pain is reduced, we begin to restore strength, from the inside out, and progress at the right pace for you depending on your symptoms, ability and goals.
You may see a number of “new mom exercise groups” or “boot camps” that are offered in the community. While their intention is great with wanting to help new moms return to exercise, in most cases these groups do not evaluate or consider conditions such as diastasis recti, any current pain issues, pelvic organ prolapse or a weak pelvic floor which may be resulting in leakage.
As a result exercises such as sit ups, planks and burpees may be encouraged when women are simply not ready for that strenuous type exercise. This can result in increased pain, worsening in symptoms related to a diastasis recti and increased abdominal pressure downward through the pelvic floor muscles, adding more pressure on an existing prolapse while promoting leakage through a weak pelvic floor.
There should be a progression with your exercises to get you back to what you want to do, safely without adding risks of further pain or injury. Most activity you CAN get back to in time, with the right modifications!
Postpartum Power Up is about bridging this gap. We want to promote this safe progression by not only providing hands on care for your specific needs, but also empowering women with the information they need to make good decisions in regards to their body and specific fitness goals.
That being said-we are not your average PT clinic. We believe that women are not snowflakes. Women are very strong and capable of so much more than we give them credit for. The last thing a woman wants to hear is that she cannot do something after a baby.
When you see us for a consult we do an extensive evaluation, both internal and external, to check for conditions such as
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse
- Vaginal pain
- Pelvic floor muscle strength
- Back or hip pain
- Diastasis recti or abdominal separation
- Abdominal strength
- Posture related changes
- Overall strength
One example of how we may be different from other clinics is that during an internal assessment, we may decide to perform (and in most cases will) an internal assessment in standing as while doing a squat. Standing can tell us more about the position of a potential prolapse, especially if you’re goal is to return to the gym and lift weights (with the right modifications of course).
We will also discuss nutrition, and the importance of what we eat is important in the recovery process, as for example to help boost collagen so our diastasis recti has the best chances for recovery.
After someone signs up for an initial evaluation, they will automatically be put on a mailing list where they will receive extensive educational materials that discusses different topics, written by myself that they can save to their computer and refer to anytime they want. Topics will include nutrition, diastasis recti, incontinence, etc, just to name a few.
There is so much confusing advice out there, maybe you have heard-with a diastasis recti you can never do sit ups again, or with a prolapse you probably shouldn’t run again…just to name a couple. Latest research over the past couple years have shown us some of these fears are unjustified. With a diastasis recti, it is not so important to “close the gap” as once thought to achieve functional abdominal strength. Instead looking at the integrity of the muscle strength itself is a better indicator of strength and improved carryover with stabilization during activity. With regards to running or other impact sports, one option is to wear a pessary to help give the bladder support, as to avoid potentially making it worse overtime. There will always be some contraindications out there, but just understanding your options with regard to recovery is so important!
I have spent the last year studying with the latest gurus out there working with the post-partum population, and I am so excited to share what I have learned!
Go to my blog section to see different topics covered as well. I will even share my own story as a mom and ways that I want to improve myself by applying what I have learned.
Please call me for a free consultation and let’s discuss ways to get you back to what you love to do! My goal is to make it standard care that EVERY woman after having a baby gets checked out by a women’s health PT! Let’s make this happen!!