YES you do need a Post Natal Assessment and here’s why….
Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy and birth. These changes can affect how your body functions, they can also have an impact on what activities you return to post birth. It is so important that you understand these changes and how they can affect your exercise choices post birth.
The 6 Week Check
Currently there is the 6 week check with your GP. You go along with baby and have a general chat with your doctor (which is usually about how baby is doing) and then you are told you can resume normal activities.
The problem is that what is normal for one person is not normal for another.
If your normal before baby was jogging, running, going to the gym, lifting heavy weights, then that is definitely not normal for someone who didn’t exercise pre pregnancy or did very little or low impact exercise.
To be advised that you can return to the activites you were doing pre pregnancy requires in depth screening. Including details about your birth experience, general health and screening for pelvic floor dysfunction (incontinence, prolapse). Alongside this a hands on assessment for Diastsis Recti (abdominal separation) is also required.
Some areas in the country don’t currently have a six week check as standard. It has been recently announced that this is going to change and rolled out across the country so that all post natal mums get a check on their physical and mental wellbeing. This is great news isn’t it? Well yes and no, it sounds great but with only 10 minutes of appointment time being allocated it is difficult to see how there is time for any in depth discussion and assessment to take place!
Changes to your body following Pregnancy and Birth
Changes to your body post birth will have an impact on you regardless of what activities you are returning to post birth. For example:
- Changes to your posture leads to aches, pains and dysfunction throughout the rest of the body.
- A weak pelvic floor can lead to incontinence (leaking). This is not only embarrassing but can stop you taking part in activities that you enjoy.
- Pelvic organ prolapse can occur if your pelvic floor is weak. A prolapse is when one of more of the pelvic organs (bladder, bowels, uterus) can slip out of place.
- Diastasis recti means that your core cannot work properly. Your core is your central support system so if this doesn’t work it has a knock on effect to your strength, balance and your upper and lower body function.
Imagine returning to exercise, particularly high impact exercise with the above problems. If you don’t correct your posture before commencing exercise this will only lead to further imbalances throughout the body. Taking part in the wrong type of exercise with a weak pelvic floor can lead to prolapse. Exercising with a Diastasis will make the Diastasis worse and weaken the area further, the list goes on!
The Post Natal Assessment
Post Natal Assessments should be carried out by a Post Natal Exercise Specialist who can identify any issues which need to be addressed. Providing advice on the steps that need to be taken, and in what order , to repair and restore the body. Alongside a progressive exercise programme that helps you to strengthen from the inside out and get you back to doing the activities that you enjoy.
FACT: Pelvic floor and core rehabilitation should come before weight loss, exercise and running!
Click HERE to find out more about what a Post Natal Assessment would involve.