First of all, it depends on the kind of birth you’ve had. Pelvic floor exercises can be started as soon as you’re feeling healed down there. So if you’ve had tearing, if you’ve got stitches that are still healing, if you’ve been cut, if it’s swollen or feels like it’s falling out, you want to wait until you’ve healed and get lots of rests. Then you can try the pelvic floor squeeze and lift exercises.
What about exercising your transverse muscle?
Again, that depends on the kind of birth you’ve had. So if you’ve had a cesarean (C-section), definitely wait until after six weeks. Let your scar heal, before exercising your transverse. You should be ready to do pelvic floor exercises much sooner. Just making sure that you’re focusing on your pelvic floor muscles and only feeling your lower tummy move slightly.
They’re very closely linked so technique is really important for you here.
There’s new research out showing that we shouldn’t be running, no matter how amazing you’re feeling until at least three months postpartum. The standard time frame is three to six months, and this requires a woman’s health physio to clear you for that.
The damage we do to our body by exercising or running before our body is fully healed is actually experienced more later, not necessarily now. So, walk your butt off – walk, walk, walk – listen to how your body is feeling. But get outside for fresh air and go for a walk.
When we go uphill, we naturally put our arms out in front of us. What you actually need to do to protect your core, is keep your elbows locked in by your sides. When you walk with your elbows locked in it protects both your tummy and your pelvic floor.
Definitely pelvic floor and transverse exercises, along with walking is where you start. The time frame depends on you and your body, and how you’re feeling.
In New Zealand, we all typically have a 6-week check with our lead maternity caregiver/ midwife. Unfortunately, they’re not usually going to say the degree or type of exercise that you can start doing. Therefore, I highly recommend getting checked by a woman’s health/ pelvic floor physio. Your WH physio will check the health of your pelvic floor, your PF exercise technique and see how your body is healing after birth. Then you’ll know you’re exercising safely.
Hope it’s helpful and enjoy getting moving safely girls.
This article has been written and supplied by Kirstyn Campbell. Co-creator of the Sub30 Core Restore Workout Program and business owner of KC Fit, New Zealand.