By Melissa Chadwick
Writing articles on postpartum recovery, I struggle to not brain dump as I could talk to you for hours. So, I’ll start with one of the most important aspects of recovery (in my opinion), which is your 6-week check and/or postnatal screen. Most of us are familiar with the 6-week timeframe and check before we ‘should’ return to exercise. Generally, we get this from our GP or obstetrician.
Firstly, let me talk a little about why waiting this period of time is important:
- Giving yourself a little head start to recover from 40 weeks of physiological changes
- Allowing open wounds to heal. You wouldn’t return to exercise the week after getting your appendix out, so why would you after giving birth?
- Allowing yourself time to get physically accustomed to the demands of motherhood
- Allowing time for bleeding to stop
What do you want to get assessed in a screen post birth?
- If you have a diastasis present and at what level it is at
- If you are experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction
- If your bleeding has stopped and if not, have this monitored
- Has your outer scar healed if you had a c-section?
- Your posture and breathing
(If any of the above makes no sense to you, I have a fantastic free online video resource that covers information on the above: Download it here: Get started guide)
If the above was not screened or checked at your 6-week check, please do get a further assessment from a Women’s Health Physio (WHP) or a qualified postnatal trainer alongside a WHP.
Let me stress that everyone’s pregnancy, birth and recovery is different, so what happens next after your 6-week check should be completely individual to you. Everyone should complete a level of specialised postnatal recovery regardless of whether you present with pelvic floor dysfunction or not.
However, if you do experience pelvic floor dysfunction, I highly recommend you book to see a Women Health Physio to get a full postnatal check and begin to work with a qualified trainer to implement a specialised plan to support you through recovery.