It’s been 6 weeks, time for that postpartum check up.
You get to the waiting room and are handed a questionnaire that’s supposed to give them an idea of whether you are struggling with postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety.
You make it to the examination room and they ask a few questions about your recovery, examine your vagina and/or C-section scar.
They ask if you have questions and then most often clear you to return to exercise and sex.
Go back to life as usual. Sounds like a solid plan, right?
Before I continue any further, I have to say that I fully support a 6 week check up with your ob-gyn. It’s a good thing! (Well, if you have a great doctor, another post for another time).
However, the 6 week check up alone should not be the sole indicator of whether you can/should proceed with a green light to do any and all the things. Here’s why.
“Go back to exercise.”
This is a regularly repeated phrase at these check ups. The problem is, it’s so generic. There’s no guidance here on what type of exercise, intensity, and what the individual is actually ready for. While seeing your OB-GYN is a great starting point, there’s one thing that they cannot do that’s very important in giving advice to return to exercise.
While OB’s can assess the healing of tissues and C-section scars, they do not test the nerve and muscle function of your pelvic floor. This is really, really important.
The nerve and muscle function of your pelvic floor effects you not just when you exercise in the gym sense, but in your day to day life, picking up the carseat, getting up off of the floor with your baby, carrying groceries, etc.
The nerve and muscle function of your pelvic floor effects many things:
Difficulty with complete emptying during urination
SI joint pain
And much, much more!
So if you’re OB isn’t assessing the nerve and muscle function of your pelvic floor, who do you go to see? A pelvic floor physical therapist (PFPT)!
I would love to see pelvic floor physical therapy become a standard of postpartum care. You go for your 6 week check up AND are then referred to PFPT automatically (and it’s covered by insurance). A good pelvic floor physical therapist is where you’ll really get a true sense of what your body needs to help you return to exercise as well as play in the sport of motherhood safely. (Motherhood alone is a strength training sport!)
When it’s time to transition out of physical therapy and “into the wild”, aka returning to the sports and/or types of movement that you love, that’s when you connect with someone like me: a personal trainer who’s certified in pregnancy and postpartum exercise. A qualified trainer can help you to bridge the gap between the work you do in physical therapy and the activities you’re wanting to return to.
Very soon I’ll be offering a special postpartum coaching program and I can’t wait to share it with you!
If you’d like to be on my mailing list to get the details as they are released, you can join here!
If you have any questions, please ask. I’m always happy to help! You’re also invited to join my private Facebook community. It’s a safe space for women to ask questions and get tips about habits, mindset, nutrition and movement. Hope to see you there!