Taking care of your body – post-pregnancy – ideally begins pre-pregnancy - Western Women's and Mens Health
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Taking care of your body – post-pregnancy – ideally begins pre-pregnancy

Taking care of your body – post-pregnancy – ideally begins pre-pregnancy

With all of the pressures felt by women to appear a certain way, it’s little wonder that this weighs more heavily on the minds of women who have recently given birth. Pregnancy, childbirth along with the weeks and months following will naturally cause massive changes to your body, and it is important to take care of your body’s health and fitness throughout the whole process – not just waiting until after childbirth. Forming healthy habits early on can help you to cope with the changes, as well as assist with reducing the potential for injuries or future problems.

During pregnancy, your muscles will stretch – particularly those in your abdomen and pelvic floor (muscle group involved in bladder and bowel control). Also, due to the hormonal changes occurring, your joints and ligaments will soften and loosen. It is likely that your posture will also be affected due to all of the changes going on with your body. Following childbirth, you’ll be finding yourself having to readjust once more, not only to the shift in your body, but also to lifting and carrying your baby.

Following is a general list of exercises to help with strengthening your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles:

Pelvic floor: whilst standing, sitting or lying down, tighten the muscles around your front and back passages, squeezing and drawing them up and inwards. Relax and repeat. Try to complete 10 times slowly, then 10 times quickly.

Abdominal muscles:

* Pelvic tilts – whilst standing, sitting or lying down, feet flat on the floor and knees bent (slightly, if standing), gently draw in your abdominal muscles as you tilt your lower pelvis forwards, in order to straighten the curve of your spine. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

* Abdominal bracing – whilst standing, sitting or lying down, draw in your abdominal muscles, bringing your belly button towards your spine. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

N.B: Avoid doing sit-ups for at least 8 weeks after giving birth.

General healthy habits:

* Exercise regularly – include a daily walk along with practising the above exercises

* Drink plenty of fluids (preferably water), and only urinate when your bladder feels full

* Eat plenty of fibre through a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts, to help avoid constipation and straining.

For further advice and assistance pre, during and post pregnancy, book an appointment with a specialist physiotherapist at Western Women’s and Men’s Health in Hoppers Crossing. Call us today on (03) 8001 2044.

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