This month’s post for the health and wellness series is from Aude Fellay, registered Osteopath and Head of Pregnancy at Hub Health.
POST PREGNANCY MYTH BUSTING
Myth Buster #1: “Leaking is your new normal”
Although some degree of incontinence after childbirth is common, it is not your new normal. If you want to run, jump or feel confident sneezing, then go see a women’s health specialist! They will assess your pelvic floor function and help you address any issues so you can return safely to the activity that you’d like. Hands down, it will be your best investment because who doesn’t want to be able to play with their kids and run after them?
Myth Buster #2: “It’s ok to pick-up your pre-pregnancy exercise where you left off”
Unfortunately the six week check-up with the GP doesn’t usually include a thorough assessment of your pelvic floor. Some GP’s will check your abdominal gap, but even that isn’t always the case.#
At Hub, we strongly believe that no one should sign you off for exercise without having an idea of how your pelvic floor is recovering and without giving you clear guidance on what you can do and how to gradually return to different activities. Also, finding someone who is highly qualified in pre and post natal exercise and who can assist you during your training sessions is essential for returning to exercise after having a baby!
Myth Buster #3: “You’ll never be able to work on your abs, ever again”
Admittedly crunches and some other abs exercises shouldn’t be done if your abdominal wall and pelvic floor aren’t ready for it yet. However, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ and your women’s health osteopath will be able to carry out a thorough assessment and advise you on what exercises are safe and which should, for the time-being, be avoided.
If you have an abdominal gap that is still healing for example, your body might not yet be ready to withstand the abdominal pressure created in exercise such as sit ups. However, gradual rehabilitation of your core and pelvic floor is key to your recovery so that you can start introducing abdominal strengthening exercises in routine again. Eventually, everyone should be able to do a sit up because, well, sitting/lying down and getting up again is something we all do several times a day!
Myth Buster #4: “Exercising if you’re breastfeeding will reduce your milk”
If you’re breastfeeding when you return to exercise after having your baby, you might experience a mild reduction in your milk initially for a couple of days as your body adjusts to the increase in demands. However, this will only be temporary and, as long as you maintain good hydration and nutrition (and by that we mean both quality and quantity of food and fluid intake!), your body will adjust fine. Exercise may increase the lactic acid in your milk which can alter the taste slightly, so if you’re struggling to feed post-exercise then try beforehand.
Myth Buster #5: “New mums should focus on weight loss”
We understand that everyone is individual, that they have different goals and that, to some, appearance can be very important. However, when looking to return to exercise the priority should be to do so in a safe environment, under the guidance of experts who focus on letting you body heal and function correctly. In order to avoid long term health problems, we need to take some of today’s pressure off ourselves and get our priorities right.
At the top of the list should be exercising to improve function and support healing. In other words: getting a women’s health specialist to assess you and give you specific rehab exercises for your pelvic floor and abdominal separation. Once you’ve done that and the women’s health specialist says you can return to your post-natal exercise class, it’s important to remember that exercise is, for a while, going to be part of your postpartum recovery journey.
The correct exercise should increase your strength, mobility and overall fitness, to support the things you are doing as a new mum – so you can lift, carry, play with your baby and run after your toddler, with lower risks of injury.
Joining a post-natal exercise class is also a great way for you to have some “me time” and to look after yourself, when so many hours of the day (and night!) are spent looking after your baby. Your body has spent the best part of a year working incredibly hard to create a little human being and give birth, and it is now time to help it heal and recover.
Last but not least, it’s an opportunity to meet some other new mums and to produce some happy hormones, both of which are key for maternal mental health and wellbeing!
Aude’s practice encapsulates a wide range of musculoskeletal presentations, such as tensions related to stress, occupational or sporting injuries, impaired mobility and posture, digestive and visceral disorders.Through a combination of hands on treatment, as well as advice on exercise, lifestyle, and nutrition, Aude aims to improve her patients overall health, in both the short and the long term.
Hub is an integrated health and performance clinic on Venn Street, in the heart of Clapham and all Clapham Mums gets 10% off their initial visit, just mention when booking and show your card. Hub Pregnancy offers 10% off PregnaFit pack of 10 classes or full Pregnancy Programme for Clapham Mums!
Location: Hub Health, 192-194 Clapham High Street, SW4 7UD
Telephone: 020 7720 9644