Only in America is your body supposed to be cured, healed and ready to go full throttle, back into exercise and pre-pregnancy activities, after 6 weeks from when you deliver your new baby. In many European countries women are given a minimum of 6 physical therapy visits to help them immerse back into daily activities and exercise. The European approach here makes complete sense. The best way I can describe the postpartum body is that you are literally a “bag of bones.” Your crucial core muscles have been completely stretched out, and once that baby is gone, the body is hypothetically supposed to shrink back together. Then BOOM… 6 weeks later you’re expected to go back to training for the marathon.Not so fast, Sherlock
There is so much going on in your body after labor. Not only are your vital organs, like your uterus and skin, attempting to return to some functional state, but your muscles have been stretched out to the point that they are extremely weak and in need of education and guidance, in order to learn how to contract again and provide that all-important core stability.
Let’s not forget to mention the laxity in your joints, which has caused that up to 5mm separation at your pelvis, and set you up for some serious risk of injury if you return to activity, sport or training without the appropriate stability in place from those all-important core muscles.
Did I mention core muscles are important?
Core muscles don’t just include abdominal muscles, but also the pelvic floor, hip muscles and the diaphragm. So, before you go tackle that marathon or sign up for that high intensity boot camp, consider focusing on building and isolating your core.
One example Kim, unable to understand why her back was hurting and belly just didn’t seem right 15 months after baby and 4 days a week at the gym, finally made an appointment with her physical therapist. She found out she had a diastasis recti and was going about her workouts all wrong. With a correction to her workout routine and body mechanics, Kim was able to strengthen her core and reduce her separation to the point of being able to participate in Cross Fit which was her passion.
This isn’t uncommon and these stories abound. A physical therapist is a great avenue to ensure your preparedness for whatever activity you choose to jump into. With our personalized at-home or in-office approach we can help get you back on the right track too.