Firstly, a big congratulations on becoming a new mum! Becoming a mother is without a doubt a magical time in your life. Don’t be discouraged if you are not quite feeling that right now. Yes, for the most part it is exciting but it is tough! Throw a little extra social isolation on top thanks to COVID-19 and it is really tough!
But don’t worry new mummies, we are here to help with some physical and mental health tips for your postnatal time in lockdown!
Pregnancy and childbirth can bring great joy, but they can also be hard on your body. Doing simple exercises and forming healthy habits can help you cope with many of the changes to your body. It can also help reduce injuries and problems in the future.
It is important to do exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles while you are pregnant. It’s also important to continue these exercises after the birth of your baby. If you’ve had a vaginal birth, you only need to wait 2 days to get started. If you had a caesarean birth, it’s best to wait 5 days. If you feel any pain, stop doing the exercises and contact one of our physiotherapists or your midwife for advice.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that supports the pelvis, helps with bladder and bowel control and is important in sexual function. Pregnancy makes your pelvic floor weaker. To help prevent problems now and in the future, such as leaking urine, you’ll need to exercise your pelvic floor.
To exercise your pelvic floor muscles at home:
- squeeze the muscles all around your front and back passages
- lift them up and inwards
- relax for about 5 seconds
- repeat up to 10 times
Pelvic floor exercises are most effective when individually tailored and monitored. At Sandgate Physical Health Clinic we have a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist, Jess, who has had additional training in women’s health and pelvic floor treatments. Jess can assess your pelvic floor function, and design an exercise program to meet your needs. Read more about our WOMEN’S HEALTH SERVICES>>
Abdominal Muscles Exercises
Doing abdominal exercises every day for at least 6 weeks after the birth of your baby can help you regain your strength as well as your pre-pregnancy shape. Don’t do sit ups for at least 8 weeks after giving birth. Instead, it’s best to do pelvic tilts and abdominal bracing exercises.
To perform pelvic tilts:
- lie, stand or sit with your knees bent and your feet flat
- gently flatten the curve of your lower back by tilting your pelvis backwards
- hold for 3 to 5 seconds, keep breathing
- repeat 5 to 10 times
To perform abdominal bracing:
- lie, sit or stand
- gently draw your belly button in towards your spine
- hold for 5 to 10 seconds, keep breathing
- repeat 5 to 10 times
Post Natal Exercise Video
Please watch Jess and Bre demonstrate some great Post Natal Exercises to start regularly at home! Please Note: we recommend booking a Women’s Health Consultation prior to starting any exercises so we can offer you a full rehabilitation program and work closely with you during this time.
Look After Your Back
After pregnancy it is important to look after your back to help prevent backache and injury. New mothers are at risk of back injury because they are lifting and bending more than usual.
You can help look after your back by:
- keeping good posture
- avoiding lifting heavy things
- working at benches or tables at waist height
- using chairs with good back support
- avoiding holding your baby on one hip
- Try one of our Pilates classes specifically designed for pregnancy and new mums
Get Into Good Habits
Getting into healthy habits after you’ve been pregnant will help avoid unwanted problems that can go with childbirth, such as weakened bladder control. Some of the most important habits you can establish are:
- exercise — walk every day, and do daily pelvic floor and abdominal exercises
- good bladder habits — drink plenty of fluids; only urinate when your bladder feels full
- good bowel habits — avoid constipation and straining; eat plenty of high fibre foods, such as fruit and vegetables
Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health
Don’t be too hard on yourself, becoming a new mum has many challenging hurdles to overcome both physically and mentally, and that’s without a worldwide pandemic!
Here are our 7 tips to help manage a healthy state of mind after becoming a new mum and while in isolation-
1. Take care of yourself – This includes:
- Baby Breaks
- Adult Time
2. Identify someone you can be absolutely real with as your support person
3. Make sleep a priority
4. Give yourself permission to care for your baby in the way that works best for you
5. Be kind to yourself
6. Know your resources and have a plan to get help
7. Ask for help if you need it
If you would like some additional advice and would like to speak with our Pelvic Health Specialist Jess, please call the clinic on 38691099 for more information or book online!