What to expect after you have been expecting! Childbirth - the normal changes on your body!
The journey through pregnancy and childbirth can be both demanding and incredibly rewarding. As a woman transitions into the postpartum period, the physical and mental demands of looking after a new baby while her body recovers can be challenging. Physiotherapists with a special interest and additional training can help women to reduce and potentially prevent symptoms relating to joint and muscular pain, abdominal separation, and weakness in the pelvic floor muscles regardless of whether it was a vaginal delivery or caesarean section.
It is important that women receive appropriate advice to help promote an optimal recovery and return to daily activity and exercise safely. For some women, it can be difficult for them to identify what is normal and what’s not during this postpartum period and to know when to seek help.
What is normal in the first 6-8 weeks after delivery?
- you may have some ongoing muscular pain involving the lower back, pelvis, groin or abdomen
- may have some initial discomfort in the vagina, perineal area, or lower abdomen (with a caesarean section)
- may have some difficulty with control of urine, wind or stool
- may have joint pain and muscular fatigue as you adjust to regular feeding and lifting of the baby
During this period, it is really important to listen to your body and allow it the chance to heal properly, to find time to look after your own needs, and to get rest whenever you can. A Women’s Health Physiotherapist can teach you to gently contract the pelvic floor muscles and the deep core abdominal muscles to assist in your recovery and help improve low back and pelvic stability. We can help to reduce joint and muscular pain by using effective manual therapy techniques, teaching some easy stretching techniques, and ensure that you develop good postural habits.
After 8 weeks post-delivery:
- most post-partum bleeding should have stopped and any incisions or perineal tears should have healed
- should have regained normal control of the bladder and bowel movements
- muscular and joint pain should be settling down
- should feel able to gently increase your activity/exercise level
- may be ready to resume sexual activity if desired
Understanding what is normal can help you determine what is not normal. So, if you have any further questions, please have a look at our blog titled “What is not normal after childbirth” which has some additional helpful information.