Have you recently started exercising again? Here are 4 factors to look out for during and after you exercise to know if it's not quite right for you (at this point in time!)
By reading part 1 of this blog hopefully now you are more aware of your own individual particulars that could impact the type of exercise you return to initally. This post will follow this in now making you aware of signs that the type exercise you are doing is not quite right for you at this point in time (I'm not saying this is forever, just for this point in your recovery.)
One of the most effective ways is to firstly be in tune with your body. I know this sounds a little ‘wish washy’ but as females we are generally quite good at knowing our bodies. Let’s now fine tune this and link it to our pelvic area and more specifically our pelvic floor. I want you to be aware of what you are looking for in your body if you are doing too much too soon! Sometimes you don’t need someone to tell you what is right and wrong you can feel it in your body, you just need to be self aware.
If you experience any of the following symptoms when exercising it's likely you are doing too much too soon. This is your body saying ‘Hey, give me a chance to recover and rehab some more!’
1. Any form of pelvic floor issues
This means any incontinence (urinary or bowel), suddenly needing to urinate, or even not being able to control your wind.. Yes our pelvic floor should have enough control to stop all of those things from happening. And no it's not ok even if ‘OH, but it’s just a little bit..’ Rule no. 1 We should not leak with exercise!
Question no. 1- Are you leaking with your exercise?
2. You feel any feelings of heaviness, pressure, lumps, bulges, dragging, something coming down in the pelvic area. You may feel this during or after exercise.
In Part 1 of this blog I mentioned how in the post natal period there is still softness to the ligaments through the body. Within your pelvic area this means the ligaments holding your bladder, uterus, and bowel are still soft and therefore at a higher risk of stretching. (particularly with breast feeding). If you do too much too soon these organs can descend (or move south if that makes it easier to visualise). If this occurs you can feel this as a pressure or heaviness type symptom. If you feel this note the exercise you are completing, stop completing it, then when you get home have some flat or rest time. If the symptoms continues seek advice from a women’s health physiotherapist or your gynaecologist for an assessment.
Question no. 2- Are you feeling any heaviness, pressure, lumps, bulges, dragging, something coming down in the pelvic area?
3. Any pain issues
If you are experiencing any abnormal pain during or after exercise it may be a sign if is not quite right for you. This may be pain at a scar site, in your pelvic floor, or just a joint related pain. In this situation we don't need to push through pain, as it may make it worse. I would be normal to get some muscle related soreness (commonly known as DOMS- delayed onset muscle soreness) after exercising but this type of pain should go away after 2 days. Anything other than this should be a sign that your body might not be enjoying it.
Question no. 3 - Are you experience any abnormal pain with exercises?
4. If it just generally does not feel right
You may have been ok completing the exercise pre baby and you might be ok later in your recovery.. but currently your body may not be up to completing it. Listen to it. I often hear mums say this to me, they can't quite put their finger on what it is but they just say something just doesn't feel right.
Question no. 4 - Does something just not feel right?
I hope both PART 1 + PART 2 together give you some insight into some things to consider in the journey to returning to exercise post baby. It is more complex than you think and that is why we are here to help. Of course as a physiotherapist in the area of Women’s Health I do think it is a great idea to have a consult to complete an assessment so we can be the most accurate. If you are able to do this you are wanting to book a post-natal assessment or return to exercise check.
Like always, if you have any questions or would like to book please leave a message in the contact page.