If you’ve had a baby, you are postnatal regardless of when it was, right?
Traditionally we think of the postnatal period as the months and maybe the first year following the birth of our baby, but actually issues relating to your pregnancy and delivery can show up years later.
You might notice weakness or pain in an area of your body, a few years after having a baby and not join the two up because you think too much time has passed.
You might not have had a good quantity of time to focus of you and your body within the first couple of years. Perhaps you did exercise but not intensively, or perhaps you did something gentle that didn’t put too much pressure on joints and your pelvic floor and so you may not have noticed any areas which had been affected by having your bundle of joy.
Fast forward a few years and you could have a tad more time (we said ‘could’ – we know it’s still a bit unrealistic!). But you might decide to return to an old contact sport, you might want to run again, or just up the exercise levels in some way. It’s then that you could notice your pelvic floor is weaker than you knew. You might leak pee or you might just feel pressure, or a bulging, pushing sensation that makes you uncomfortable and feel you can’t be as active as you need to be.
You might also find that your joints suffer, your knees or hips might feel weak and your core may not have had any attention since bubs came along, which you’ll notice in a variety of ways. Your balance during sports could be rather off and your back will really feel the strain.
Of course, some of these issues will arise through general lack of fitness but for mums there’s a good chance that many of them stem from pregnancy and birth and are then exasperated through the general strains of motherhood – the constant chasing around, the lifting, bending and carrying, the awkward one-handed manoeuvres.
It can be really disheartening and quite worrying to return to exercise and feel that you simply aren’t up to it.
But don’t fret. And certainly don’t give up.
But don’t carry on regardless. Give yourself a break and acknowledge that some of these issues need addressing and fixing – there’ s no point carrying on hoping that upping your fitness will mend them.
You are still a postnatal mum and you may still need postnatal care as well as some form of exercise which addresses that.
Kellie Moore, Jelly Belly PT’s Founder and leading postnatal trainer advises getting to the root of any ongoing, niggling physical issues by visiting a specialist women’s physio.
“It’s absolutely possible to still have some issues a few years post birth.
“The best thing you can do is try to identify exactly what they are and how to begin to heal them because that means you can properly move forward with your exercise. Visit a specialist physio who can assess you and confirm what’s going on and help you work out a plan to get past it and make sure you can still enjoy working out without damaging your body further.”
If you’re keen to really up your fitness, then alongside any other classes or sports you’re into, there is no reason why you can’t still attend a class that is designed for women with postnatal needs, regardless of how long postnatal you are.
The Jelly Belly PT Saturday morning Outdoor class was actually started with you in mind! We wanted to offer an exercise class for mums who, might not have had a baby that recently and have perhaps returned to work so can’t make our weekday classes. This is a workout that will help strengthen and tone the areas affected by pregnancy and birth and isn’t too high impact so won’t aggravate any issues you may have.
Also, speaking to a qualified postnatal trainer will mean you work carefully to strengthen and build your body, helping to knit back together the areas that have been neglected over the years. A trainer can be sure to work closely with a specialist physio’s recommendations and put together a specific plan that complements those.
There’s also no reason why mums who are much further down the line, can’t attend our Postnatal Restore classes if they happen to fit your schedule – but remember that one of our trainers can put together personal postnatal restore course for you, more tailored to your level and point of recovery.
We’re passionate about making sure women heal their bodies properly and that they are able to continue with and enjoy exercise. Please don’t suffer in silence if you have niggling problems in the months and years after birth and please don’t be put off working out. There is lots of help out there and we can make things better and show you the path forward – get in touch with any questions.
We recommend Six Physio for a Mum MOT and do have a read of our blog section – we’ve covered lots of topics that might affect you, such as this one on the pelvic floor.
Words: PENNY STRETTON