Top 3 complications Post-Birth.

Being pregnant, giving birth and then looking after a baby – it’s all particularly hard work on the body and comes at a time when you are more focused on the baby and less focused on you. However you need to look after your own body, you only get one and if it isn’t functioning as well as it should is makes life a lot harder.

Three of the key complications that can occur during pregnancy and postnatally:

1. Diastasis Recti.

This is a seperation of the tummy musclesDiastasis Recti that run vertically down the tummy (the Rectus Abdominus or 6 pack muscles). It can happen naturally but there are also things you can do to prevent it from becoming too large an issue whilst pregnant. After your 6 week check is then the time to get this checked out and to address it.

Top Tips: No sit ups in pregnancy and post-birth. Don’t go back to high impact exercise too quickly as it can make this worse and use safe postnatal Pilates exercises to fix it.

2. Pubis Symphysis Derangement:

Otherwise known as pelvic girdle pain or SPD. This occurs when there is movement in the symphysis pubis, and a misalignment of the pelvis. It leads to pain in the pelvis and groin region. This is usually worse on standing, walking, climbing stairs, getting in and out of a car and activities that involve having the weight on one leg. Pilates can help by strengthening the core (above the pelvis) and the thigh and bum muscles (below the pelvis). These strengthening exercises effectively help the body support the pelvis and take the pressure off. This can happen in pregnancy, during labour or after birth.

Pilates with Priya: The Pelvis

Top Tips: Your local obstetric physiotherapist may be able to help with misalignment. Then use Pilates specific exercises to help strengthen and maintain the correct posture and position.

3. Hunched Posture:

Being pregnant means heavier breasts, a bump and often rounded shoulder to compensate for the heavier load. Having a baby means you end up leaning forward a lot to play, pick up, feed and change your little one. Carrying a baby around leads to tense shoulders and feeding can be awful for the posture too. Having a rounded upper back leads to tight shoulders and neck, tight hamstrings, weak gluteals (bum) and tummy muscles. It also doesn’t look great.

Top Tips: Keep checking your posture in the mirror, think about it when you feed and carry baby. Make posture part of your everyday awareness.

For specific exercises and more top tips try “Beyond Your Bump”

Week 9 Post-baby: Picking up my trainers

After 4 weeks of twitchy feet and 8 weeks retraining my core I decided it was time to try out a short run.

Pilates with Priya: Picking up my Trainers post-baby

Now I do not advocate rushing into high intensity exercise too soon post-birth. Here are the reasons I felt I was ready:

  1. I have worked on building my core strength back up and although its not where it was pre-pregnancy, I’m confident it is strong enough.
  2. I was active all throughout pregnancy (step aerobics until 37 weeks) so my body is used to exercise.
  3. I’ve spent several weeks building my cardiovascular exercise up with short workouts and walks.
  4. I still have a diastasis recti, its now 1.5cm but the depth of this has significantly lessened and I can feel the improvement.

So I planned a morning run, got the toddler and baby sorted and hubby at home to look after them. At last minute the toddler decided she was coming too. My first run turned into myself, the buggy and toddler running to the sounds of “What’s that mummy” and “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”, what better company could I ask for? I took it gently and managed a little cycle of running for 4 minutes, walking for 1 minute, a total of 15 minutes. Not quite my usual 6km run, but a good start. Here we are pre-run.

Week 9 Post-baby: Picking up my trainers

Later in the week I managed to sneak out for another run, this time with baby and the buggy and managed 4 1/2 minutes running, 1 minute walking. I’m hoping this will improve each time.

I’ve also had a sickly baby this week so other exercise has been teaching my Pilates classes and attending a Pilates class and ballet class for my benefit, no walking or weights but I have lost 1kg (2lbs).

If you are thinking about starting running post-baby here are my tips:

  1. Make sure you have a very good sports bra, especially if you are breastfeeding. I’m wearing a sports bra, support top and a top with a built in support.
  2. Build up to it, so get walking and doing other exercise first.
  3. Ensure your core is strong enough to support the impact or you could do more harm.
  4. Start small. Try running for 1 minute and walking for 1 minute in a little cycle and build it up.
  5. Wear good trainers, they will make all the difference.