Beyond the 6 Week Postpartum Check-Up: What You REALLY Need to Consider Before Returning to Exercise
Updated: Mar 3, 2020
Is the six week clearance from your doctor or midwife enough?
Often times, I hear women say that they are waiting for their six week check-up to get the all-clear from their doctor or midwife when it comes to postpartum exercise. While of course I always recommend listening to your doctor or midwife (and this is not to be down on them because the majority do an excellent job,) there are some other things you should consider when returning to exercise after baby.
1. Making an appointment with a pelvic floor physiotherapist. They will be able to empower you with knowledge about your core and pelvic floor. This is what they are trained to do! Many doctors are not equipped with this skill-set.
2. Being assessed for diastasis recti. Some doctors and midwives will do this but, unfortunately, it’s not always done properly. If you haven’t been checked with your head tilted and using your breath as a means to generate tension and assess function through the core, you’re going to want to be checked again properly.
3. Remembering that bodies evolve from that six week check-up. At six weeks, you are so early in the healing process and many hormones and factors are at play. It is key to work with someone as you progress who can help you to adjust and find strategies to where you are specifically at, supporting you in your return to exercise over time.
4. That there are gentle, more rehabilitative exercises that you can start even earlier on in the process. These include various stretches, exercises, and strategies to aid your core and pelvic floor in recovering from pregnancy and birth.
5. That the all clear from your doctor does not necessarily mean that you are ready to jump right back into whatever exercises you did prior to becoming pregnant. Birth is a huge undertaking on the body and it does not generally serve us to ignore that. Even after your baby arrives, your body is continuing to undergo big changes and there are many factors that can have an effect on your training.
Some of these factors are mental and emotional health, breastfeeding, how many hours of sleep you are getting each night, and many more. Learning more about returning function and strength to the core and pelvic floor, how to know when that exercise is a good fit for your body at the time, and how to adjust accordingly is important.
Working with a qualified postnatal fitness specialist is a huge asset. They can be a powerful member to have on your team to help you bridge the gap between physio and returning to all the exercises and activities you love safely and most effectively.
As a postnatal fitness specialist, I am honoured and proud to support women in their return to fitness. Whether it's me you choose or someone else, find someone who can empower you with continued knowledge during this time.
Do you need help and support returning to fitness postpartum? Book a free, no-pressure strategy call and let's talk! I would love to help you navigate this important chapter in your life!