Navigating Postpartum Recovery: Tips from Perinatal Physiotherapist and Mum of 3, Katherine Baquie
The Importance of Prioritising Postpartum RecoveryThe postpartum period is a time of immense change, both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, it often gets overshadowed by the demands of motherhood. Kath emphasises the importance of recognising the need for recovery and advocates for a proactive approach to postpartum care. She suggests that the ideal time to start thinking about recovery is during pregnancy, setting the stage for a smoother transition into postpartum life.
Tips for the First Few Weeks After Birth
1. Log Roll To Get Out Of Bed
Childbirth brings about significant stretching of muscles and soft tissue structures. Just as an elastic band needs time to recoil, your body requires time for these structures to knit back together naturally. One simple practice that Kath highly recommends is log rolling to get out of bed, avoid sit-ups, instead use your arms to push into a sitting position while letting your legs fall over the bed.
2. Embrace Horizontal Rest
In those early weeks, incorporate short bursts of horizontal rest into your routine. Whether it's breastfeeding lying down or taking short naps, these moments help alleviate gravity's impact on the stretched structures, promoting a more effective recovery.
3. Gradual Walking Progression
As your body heals, gradually reintroduce physical activity. Kath suggests a graduated walking plan to help slowly build up walking endurance. This will help protect the pelvic floor and core muscles, and support recovery post birth. Rather than for our first walk going for a long 45 minute walk, which might leave you feeling tired and achy, try this more structured approach.
Week 1: Approx 5 minutes of walking
Week 2: Approx 10 minutes of walking
Week 3: Approx 15 minutes of walking
Of course, check in with your healthcare team if you've had any medical complications and be guided by your doctor.
4. Limit Lifting For Six Weeks
Whether you've had a vaginal or cesarean delivery, refrain from lifting anything heavier than your newborn for the first six weeks. This practice supports the natural recoil of pelvic floor and core muscles, contributing to a more effective recovery.
5. Plan Your Postnatal Rehab
Once you receive medical clearance at the six-week mark, start thinking about your postnatal rehab plan. Kath emphasises the importance of investing in your body's recovery beyond just walking with a pram. Consider comprehensive postnatal exercise programs like FitNest Mama’s online Postpartum Pilates workouts, which offer curated online pilates and yoga workouts to regain confidence and support your body's recovery journey.