What should you be doing the first 3 weeks after giving birth
Although you may feel great – and I hope you do!
Pregnancy and birth are still MAJOR events for your body. That alone heightens your risk of pelvic floor dysfunction.
We still must take the time to lay the foundation of function, strength, and strategy.
Here are some of the reasons why we still need to focus on the health of the pelvic floor after birth:
The downward pressure of your baby on your pelvic floor muscles and connective tissues in pregnancy and birth can stretch these soft tissues leaving them more lax than normal.
Your expanded uterus puts pressure against your other pelvic organs, including the bladder and rectum, and can disrupt their normal function.
Scarring: C-section incisions and scars can impact pelvic floor function, leading to such things as urethral burning, feeling like you need to pee more often than usual, leaking urine, and/or pain in the clitoris and labia.
The alignment changes that happen during pregnancy and postpartum (for example, constant standing with your bum tucked under or with your ribcage thrusting upwards) can affect the tone of your pelvic floor muscles, potentially creating high tension in them.
Tightness in the pelvic floor can lead to a loss of strength.
There are hormonal changes that occur in pregnancy and postpartum (particularly if breastfeeding) that can affect the function of connective tissues, potentially making them more lax. This could affect pelvic floor and pelvic organ support.
What should you focus on for the first 3-4 weeks
Rest as much as possible, when possible. Many birth professionals advise moms to spend the first week in bed with baby as much as they can.
Stay off the feet for lengthy periods of times, that isn’t baby-needs related.
Gentle stretching in whatever forms feel supportive, relaxing, and gentle on mom’s body (chest, hip flexors, glutes are typical areas that feel stiff).
WEEK ONE - Keep walking time minimal, for example, from the bed to the bathroom, around the house, and baby related care. Limit stairs, especially in the case of pelvic floor trauma or Cesarean section.
WEEK TWO - if interested and feeling well. Short, slow strolls around the block (5-10 minutes at a time). Notice how you feel during and after, and if you notice any impairments to recovery the next day (e.g. more soreness in perineum, C-section incision, increased bleeding, more fatigue, etc).
WEEK THREE - Short, slow strolls around the block (5-15 minutes at a time). Notice how you feel during and after, and if you notice any impairments to recovery the next day (e.g. more soreness in perineum, C-section incision, increased bleeding, more fatigue, etc). WEEK FOUR + - build up your distance and speed slowly noticing how you feel after each progression
From week 2 (vaginal birth) or week 4 (c-section) you can slowly start working on Diastasis Recti safe core work (ALL moms should do this, weather you feel a gap or not)
You can start with the FREE beginners program here:
Vary the body alignment in daily life. Support the body well in nursing/baby-feeding positions that allow you to relax.
Remind mom to simply keep breathing, especially in times of carrying and caring for baby. Can use an ‘exhale on exertion’ and/or a ‘exhale through exertion’ strategy for times when getting up on the floor with or without baby in arms, when going from seated to standing, when pushing one’s self up from side lying in bed, etc.
Check that you are using the correct breathing patterns with this video
Your pirorities should be YOUR recovery needs and health, and your baby’s care. Everything else can wait a few weeks, take these weeks to make you a pirority