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Exercising when Pregnant and getting back into Exercise after the birth of your pēpē

It can be challenging to know when to start exercising after giving birth and which types of exercises to choose to begin with. It is a question we frequently get from our māmās during a Pelvic Health consult and an area we feel is prudent to discuss given the benefits of exercise for both Physical and Mental health.

We encourage our māmās to maintain a good level of exercise both during and following pregnancy however the type of exercise may differ depending on the stage of pregnancy, length of time post-partum and individual physical presentation which may include Pelvic instability, Abdominal separation or Pelvic organ prolapse.

Maintaining strength and coordination of the Pelvic floor muscles has proven to optimise outcomes following delivery of your pēpē and may even assist in labour.

Not only will strong, responsive Pelvic floor muscles assist in supporting the organs whilst your pēpē grows during pregnancy, they will also help to reduce the incidence of incontinence following delivery. This is one of the most common issues women face following child birth.

It is just as important to have coordination with Pelvic floor muscles and the ability to fully relax this supportive sling. During labour, the Pelvic floor muscles need to be able to fully relax and may stretch over 300% from their resting state to enable the movement of your pēpē through the pelvis. Our Pelvic and Women's Health Physiotherapists can teach you how to effectively exercise your Pelvic floor muscles and check that you also have adequate control and relaxation. We can also provide advice on relaxation techniques for the Pelvic floor muscles if there is tension here.

Following birth it is encouraged to continue these Pelvic floor muscle exercises to support tissue healing and reduce the risk of complications including Incontinence, Pelvic organ prolapse and Pelvic and Low back pain.

Incorporating these exercises into functional training and exercise is important and our Pelvic Health Physiotherapists will develop a personalised program based around your goals.

When returning to exercise it is suggested to wait at least 12 weeks following birth prior to performing running, jumping or high-impact activity. Exercise should begin with low impact activities such as walking and body weight strengthening before progressing to jog/walk interval exercise, weight training and later running and high impact or plyometric activity. Pelvic floor exercises can be incorporated into your usual exercise to reduce injury, encourage healing and prevent other complications developing. It is crucial that during this time you listen to your body, pay attention to the cues and if something does not feel right you take a break, possibly take a step back and/or consult your Pelvic Health Physiotherapist.

Returning to exercise after the birth of your pēpē can be a joyous and beneficial activity which should not be clouded by any anxiety or concern. Our Pelvic Health Physiotherapists will work with you closely to ensure a safe and effective return to Physical activity working towards your exercise goals. Get in touch if you'd like to book in an appointment for advice and guidance on maintaining or returning to exercise during or following your pregnancy.

Raglan Physiotherapy, Pilates & Acupuncture

Pelvic & Women's Health Physiotherapy

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