It is a misconception that postpartum recovery and postpartum exercise cannot begin until after your 6 week follow up with your OB. While postpartum recovery occurs in phases, there are some exercises you can begin right away to accelerate your recovery and prevent future dysfunction. The following exercises are applicable whether birth was a vaginal delivery or a c-section and they can be started even the day after birth, perfect for the first week or two of recovery:
Diaphragmatic Breathing- Inhale and expand your belly, letting your abdomen and pelvic floor relax and expand. Then exhale and empty your belly.
Transverse Abdominis Isometric- On an exhale, contract your deep abdominals by bringing your belly button down and in toward your spine.
Pelvic Floor Contraction- On an exhale, perform a contract and lift motion of your pelvic floor while not using other muscles to compensate. Remember to relax and release the contraction on an inhale!
Posterior Pelvic Tilt or Bridge- Lying on your back, use a transverse abdominis and pelvic floor contraction to ‘tuck your tail’ and flatten your back into the floor. You can then lift your hips up into a bridge if this feels ok for your body.
Proper Lifting Mechanics- Engage your transverse abdominis and pelvic floor and exhale as you lift up. Important as you will be lifting a baby right away!
Watch this video for a demonstration of these exercises with more cueing and recommendations on sets and reps.
Our pelvic health physical therapists and Mend recommend you see a pelvic health specialist as you begin these exercises to ensure proper form, proper muscle coordination, and to individualize exercises to your needs.
Mend has pelvic health physical therapists at 2 clinics ready to serve Boulder County including Boulder, Lafayette, Louisville, Longmont, and Erie. Schedule today!