Our health care system has been slow to address deficiencies in the provision of care to the mother after pregnancy. Awareness of this deficiency is gaining momentum, and the medical community is beginning to embrace the importance of “fourth trimester” care. Mothers still report feeling uninformed and unprepared for the many physical and emotional changes and potential problems that can arise in those crucial weeks and months after giving birth. While visits to the maternity provider are scheduled relatively frequently during pregnancy, one trip to the doctor at the six-week mark is still the norm. Indeed, some women don’t visit their maternity providers at all after discharge from the hospital or birth center.
As you bond with your newborn, you are also adapting to plunging hormone levels, differences to your physical body, nursing, general fatigue and soreness, lifestyle adjustments, as well as the emotional vulnerability these changes can bring. Even if you have a supportive partner or family, a sense of isolation can set in. Sadly, many women are overwhelmed by what is happening to their body, even embarrassed to talk about these things with their providers. At Creative Therapeutics, our women’s health physical therapists regularly hear “I wish I had known this months ago!”
During your fourth trimester, exercise might be the last thing on your mind. Yet studies show that some exercise not only helps your body recover from the strains of pregnancy and childbirth, it can also (with professional guidance) help address more serious physical and emotional issues that can develop in the near- or long-term, such as incontinence, diastasis, pelvic organ prolapse and postpartum depression. However, serious complications need not be present; exercise can keep the everyday aches and pains of motherhood at bay and helps create the foundation for good quality of life as you raise your children.
We designed our physician-approved Body after Baby© program to help busy moms build core strength at their convenience during the crucial experience of the fourth trimester. Our program creates a strong foundation for your body as your resume your activity. Put baby in the bouncy seat for 15 minutes (do we dare hope for a nap?), and put on one of our exercise chapters. We even include a unit on Everyday Ergonomics to prevent strains and sore muscles: how to hold your baby while nursing; carrying and setting car seats; giving baths. Body after Baby is available as a download here at our website or as a DVD (ask our front desk).
We are our area’s certified women’s health specialists. If you have questions about any issues that may have come up after giving birth, please call us to set up a free half-hour consult to discuss your options for care. If you know you need physical therapy, you can call to set up an evaluation (Illinois’s new Direct Access law allows you to be in charge of your physical therapy treatment). Consultation or Evaluation: Which One is Right for You?
Keep an eye on our newsletter next month, as well. Yoga instructor, Amy Prais (recently accomplishing her 500-hour certification–go, Amy!) is the only yoga instructor in the area specifically trained in prenatal yoga. In the fall, we’re excited to announce she’ll begin offering workshops for Postpartum Yoga, as well! Continue to watch this space and follow us on social media as we finalize info for this great workshop:
Postpartum Yoga Saturdays from 9:30-11:00 AM on the following dates:
Aug. 31, Sept. 7, Sept. 28, Oct. 5, Oct. 19, Nov. 2