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How To Check If You Are Ready To Return To Exercise After Giving Birth

If you had a vaginal or a caesarean birth, your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles have been stretched and possibly damaged, it is essential to get them working well again.  While your goal may be to lose your baby weight and restore your figure, how you do this is important since some kinds of exercise can create back pain, difficulty controlling your bladder or bowels or dropping of the uterus and other pelvic organs.   Knowing when and how to begin exercising is important.

There are 2 simple tests you can do at home to check if your body is ready to exercise or if you need to get some help to get your body back before you start.  The 2 tests are as follows;

1. CURL UP TEST

Lie on your back with your knees bent.   Slowly lift your head and shoulders up off the floor keeping your chin tucked in.

2. LEG LIFT TEST

Lie on your back with your legs straight.  Lift one leg up off the ground about 2 inches. Repeat on the other side.

During each test check for the following:

  • Do you have back or pubic pain with these tests?
  • Try to feel the borders of the muscles along the middle of your tummy (rectus abdominus).   Is there a ‘soft’ gap or separation of these muscles?  (See fig 1)
  • Do you see any bulging or doming of your abdomen? (See fig 2 & 3)
  • Feel your pelvic floor (at the opening of your vagina).  Is there descent or bulging out?

Fig 1. Self check for ut separation

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 10.07.35

Fig 2. Doming tummy

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 10.09.06

Fig 3. Doming tummy

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 10.10.01

Fig 4.  Non-doming tummy

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 10.10.48

If any of the above occurs, you need to see a Pelvic Health Physio before doing anything to have a complete assessment of your abdominal and/or pelvic floor muscles before beginning to exercise.  Not getting checked at this point could cause serious damage to your body and put you at high risk of pelvic organ prolapse.  There is much that can be done to help you get your body and muscles back working well.  The sooner you do it the better.

If you have the signs above call us on 01548 852355 or email info@quayphysio.co.uk requesting a postnatal check.  Alternatively go to see your GP and ask to see a Pelvic Health Physio on the NHS.