So how is your body feeling after giving birth? It’s incredible how loose everything can feel. You might notice your insides feel weak like they could fall out… you might even think that this is how it’s going to be for you now you’re a mum. But worry not, there is a solution!
Mums are often advised not to take up any form of exercise until the six week check up, but ignoring the weak feelings for this many weeks after birth can actually cause you more harm than good.
When we sit for long periods of time, feeding our precious babies, certain supportive muscles switch off and don’t work to support the delicate postnatal pelvis. Your pelvis has been through so much during the nine months and delivery, that you need to nurture it back to strength with my safe remedies for postnatal weakness and pain.
The focus should be on gentle recovery, and you can perform these rehabilitation exercises as early as two weeks after a normal natural delivery, or when you are driving after a medical delivery. Of course, it’s always worth checking with your health practitioner to make sure there are no reasons for you to abstain, Eg, infection, stitches, or similar…
The Rehabilitation Exercises
If you are not able to follow exercises by reading the instructions below, then you can view the exercises in the you tube video link at the end of this post.
- Prickly Massage Ball Release of Gluteal Muscles (buttocks) – Tight and weak muscles of the lower back and bottom can lead to problems with lower back pain and sciatic pain, so using the prickly massage balls is like performing a mini sports massage on yourself to relieve and prevent the pain
- First, ensure your prickly massage balls are even in size (amazon has a great selection, search for balls up to 9cm in diameter)
- Second, lying on your back in a comfortable position with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, place the balls evenly under each buttock
- You may find this uncomfortable, which means you are weak and tight in the area we are focusing on.
- Try to breathe deeply to ease the discomfort and begin to sway your hips from side to side in order to begin to break down the tightness and begin your journey to relief.
- This method will enable us to get the most out of the next exercise to strengthen your bottom.
- Pelvic Tilt with Ball/Cushion – Your pelvis requires strong Gluteal Muscles, so this exercise is the first step towards creating a shapely and strong bottom and creating some mobility for your lower spine to protect your pelvis and back. You can use a soft pilates ball or cushion to place between your knees to create a stable environment for your pelvis as you work.
- First, lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, holding the ball or cushion between your thighs, place your hands by your thighs on the floor for support.
- Second, inhale, and and you exhale, gently squeeze your bottom and your ball/cushion. You will feel your back press gently into the floor
- Inhale as you return to your start position.
- It is important not to grip your ball/cushion too tightly so as not to overactivate the adductors/inner thigh muscles
- Progression to Shoulder Bridge – When you feel ready you can progress the pelvic tilt to increase gluteal and lumbar strength by beginning the ascent of your hips up towards the sky.
- First, lying on your back as in the previous exercise, inhale, then as you exhale begin to slowly peel your tailbone (coccyx) then your spine away from the floor as you squeeze your buttocks and gently press your hips up towards the sky.
- At the top, gently squeeze the ball/cushion between your thighs and continue to squeeze your buttocks. Avoid squeezing so hard that your tummy pops outward.
- Then, inhale, and as you exhale, continue to squeeze the ball/cushion as you slowly and carefully, without losing grip on the equipment, replace your spine one vertebrae at a time back down to the floor. You might feel a slight shudder as you come in to land, but this is normal when muscles are weak, so when the shuddering no longer happens, that is a great sign things are improving for you.
- Abdominal Vacuum Training (hypopressive/low pressure) –Abdominal vacuum training is a safe way to rehabilitate the core after birth, or when suffering with ailments associated with intra-abdominal pressure.
- We will perform the next exercise in the same position as above, without any equipment.
- First, ensure your feet are straight and not wider than your shoulders and hands.
- Second, make a powerful inhalation, then exhale calmly
- After your third exhalation, pause in apnea (if you do not know to perform an abdominal vacuum, you can just practice the breathing on it’s own, or for a refresher, view my intro tutorial here)
- Relax your abdominals and then create your false breath in to create a vacuum.
- The vacuum significantly reduces pressure in the core and pelvic floor, reducing pain and weakness in the back, core and pelvic floor.
FOOTNOTE, IT IS BEST TO LEARN THIS METHOD WITH A PRACTITIONER WHO UNDERSTANDS HOW TO TEACH ABDOMINAL VACUUM TRAINING, THE HYPOPRESSIVE METHOD, OR LOW PRESSURE TRAINING.
Google “Hypopressive Trainers near me” and find someone who can safely guide you through this specialist core training method.
For full video footage of this sequence, visit my You Tube Channel to see how this practice looks in real life…
If you are suffering with pain and weakness, it is essential that you take precautions to keep safe and strong. Find a local specialist who can safely help you on the road to recovery. Anyone who prescribes you sit ups, planks or hundreds should be avoided.
Any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments…
About the blogger:
Marie Behenna is the author of The FitMama Method, published by Souvenir Press 2012 and creator of the ChillMAMA Pregnancy Meditation
Marie teaches exercise and nutrition to pregnant and post partum mothers in North Hampshire, United Kingdom. www.fitmamastudio.com