What women go through…
A couple of months before I had my first son, Grayson, I ran my first Marathon. Besides a little hip discomfort on and off, I had been in good condition throughout the training and the race. I felt great. Through that summer we struggled through a miscarriage and then were blessed to conceive our son, Grayson. Through the pregnancy, I was super active—I continued running, jumping, yoga, swimming… and working full time as a physical therapist 40 hours per week. Finally, Grayson was born (I’ll spare the details here).
As a physical therapist, I knew what I needed to do following his birth to get myself back to normal as quickly as possible: re-establishing motor control of the deep core musculature. This was to avoid problems a lot of women have: back pain, incontinence, pelvic pain, SIJ pain, hip pain, etc. etc. However, following his birth, I could not do ANY of the exercises that I would have prescribed any of my patients. This was eye-opening. I KNEW what to do and could not do it… many women do not even know where to begin, and I felt that this was a huge disparity in our healthcare system.
If physical therapists are not telling women WHAT to do post-partum AND teaching them HOW to do it, then it is of no surprise that I am seeing these women in my clinic 4-5 years later when their children are finally in school and their pain is overwhelming. Over that period of time, there has been continued breakdown of neuromotor control of the pelvic and core musculature during nursing, return to fitness activities, and just general activities of daily living. Because the brain did not know what to do or how to do it to return to normal function and control, the body found many methods of compensation to get things done. Over time, these dysfunctional movement patterns caused continued reinforcement of poor motor patterns and recruitment of the wrong muscles at the wrong time leading to continued incontinence, pain, and leading to more inactivity because of these things.
Now, my oldest child is 4 and my youngest child is 2. After years of fighting the waxing and waning challenges of childbearing years, I finally feel like my body is in a place where I feel strong and able to do things without pain. There are still some deficits and dysfunctions, yes, but I know what to do to work on them, how to do them, and I am in control of my recovery and my future.
Dear mommas, you are not alone. There are so many women in your same situation. Whether your baby was born 2 months ago or 30 years ago, it is never too late to correct these motor patterns and get you moving pain-free. Regaining control of your body following childbirth is probably one of the most important things you can do for your child long-term, so that you can live as God has called you to live and do what he has called you to do.
Top 5 Post-Partum Exercises