So you just had a baby...congratulations! It’s about 6 weeks post-partum and you’ve been cleared to exercise again by your OB or midwife. Great. But where do you start? Good question!
During pregnancy, the body’s hormones allow the abdomen and pelvic girdle to stretch and shift to accommodate the little person growing inside of you. This is all truly amazing and necessary however what happens after you give birth? Does it matter whether you’ve given birth vaginally or whether you’ve had a C-Section? Does everything immediately go back to your pre-pregnancy state? Not necessarily.
After having a vaginal delivery, there may be trauma to the pelvic floor in addition to laxity in the abdomen from pregnancy. After a C-Section, all of the abdominal muscles under the umbilicus are cut in order to access the uterus and then are repaired.
How do we get these muscles working again? Sit-ups? Planks? Running?
FIRST, we have to isolate, re-engage and create proper coordination of the deeper core muscles in order to re-establish a solid base to support our spine and extremities during activities of daily living and return to sport.
This video offers a 4 step exercise progression for getting back in touch with your deepest core muscle, the transverse abdominus.
The fifth exercise adds a final layer which is a bridge, shown in this video.
It is important to work with a trained pelvic health physical therapist to ensure you are performing these exercises correctly without compensation. Every woman post-partum starts out at level after delivery unique to their body and a full evaluation of the abdomen and lumbar spine/pelvis and hips should be completed to make sure the exercises being done are appropriate for you. An individualized exercise progression can then be prescribed as well to help you meet your goals!
If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment to have one of our pelvic health specialists evaluate you, please call 212-353-8693! It’s never too soon or too late to get the proper help to get your back to doing what you love best!
-Dr. Staci Levine, PRPC