There are lots of things to consider during the early stages of postnatal recovery, so here are some tips for all new mums, no matter how you delivered your baby:
Get lots of rest
Time is a wonderful healer and this couldn’t be more true than in the fourth trimester (the first 12 weeks postpartum). However you delivered your baby, I urge you to give your body the time and respect it deserves to heal from the journey of pregnancy and delivery. There are no medals for pushing yourself too quickly. Any pain around areas that have stitch sites and heavier vaginal discharge are often warning signs to ease back on activity.
Focus on your pelvic floor
Whether you had a C-section or vaginal delivery, your pelvic floor will need rehab due to the strain it goes under during pregnancy. As soon as possible, after delivery (ideally after your first wee after birth) start doing kegel exercises three times a day.
Each time practise doing them for longer, both the 10 x 10 second holds and the 10 x quick fire squeeze and releases. Make sure when you squeeze you only lift the pelvic floor muscles – like you are trying to hold in wind or wee, don’t clench the glutes.
Practice daily deep core breathing
This is your first step in postnatal abdominal recovery. This breathing technique really is game changing! I teach it to every single client of mine and it’s changed the way they move and exercise forever. To practise the core breathing connection start either seated or lying down.
As you inhale relax the pelvic floor and stomach muscles and as you exhale lift the pelvic floor muscles and contract the abdominal muscles in and up. Imagine you are zipping up a pair of skinny jeans from the bottom to the top as you contract.
If you had a C-section, once the stitches are fully healed regularly perform scar massage. I would recommend once a week using a vitamin E oil. Scar massage can help the scar to heal nicely with good mobility and therefore can improve function of the abdominal muscles. Scar massage can even prevent excessive scarring and make the scar appear less noticeable.
Have a balanced diet
Keep well hydrated and eat lots of nutritious meal and snacks. You may need to increase your fibre content as postnatal constipation is very common. We want to avoid this especially as straining will add further pressure and pain to both your recovering abdominal wall and pelvic floor.
Get professional advice if you need it
Seek professional help where needed. Remember if you are struggling with issues such as prolapse, abdominal separation, pelvic pain, scar pain etc please don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to your GP or Midwife or if able to book a women’s health physio appointment directly.
I hope these tips were helpful. Please feel free to share with any new mamas out there. And be sure to check out more of our content on postnatal care in our wellbeing section.