Article written by Natalie Garay. Published in Living Lavishly Magazine, August 14, 2019 Volume 9 Issue https://issuu.com/simplyclearmarketinginc./docs/ll9_06-12-19_p_1-148

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THE IMPORTANCE OF REHABILITATION AFTER HAVING CHILDREN, NO MATTER HOW LONG AGO IT WAS.

Two-hundred and fifty babies are born each minute. Whether via C-section or vaginally, this is a major event on a woman’s body. In addition, the body changes physically, emotionally, and hormonally over nine months during the process of growing a baby. Surprisingly, little to no information or tools about how to reconnect to the body, how to restrengthen the abdominals, pelvic floor, or mind and emotions is given to a woman as she heads home with her newborn days later. Without proper rehabilitation after having children, women are at risk of experiencing physical and emotional challenges. Here’s what one may experience without proper rehabilitation:

Incontinence

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that supports the pelvic organs like a basket. Pregnancy and childbirth can take a toll on the pelvic floor causing the muscles to weaken. When the pelvic floor muscles are weak, women may experience bladder leakage or incontinence. Bladder leakage can happen with as little as a sneak or cough. One in five women experiences some sort of pelvic dysfunction. Women with urinary incontinence have a significantly poorer quality of life.

Between 25–50% of women with urinary incontinence experiences sexual dysfunction. According to the OB/GYN online library, urinary incontinence commonly leaves the sufferer with psychological morbidity, particularly depression, and up to 23% of women take time off work because of their incontinence.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

In addition to incontinence, a weakened pelvic floor could result in pelvic organ prolapse. Three percent of women experience some sort of pelvic organ prolapse whether it be bladder, uterine, rectal, or a combination of the three. In some cases, women can avoid surgery for this with rehabilitative work. Recently, the FDA ordered that the pelvic mesh be removed from the market due to injuries it caused.

Split Abdominal Wall Muscles

Diastasis Recti is a separation in the linea alba of the Rectus Abdominus, most commonly referred to as the “6-pack abs.” This separation will often get dismissed as irreparable without surgery. However, with a properly trained Physical Therapist or Pilates instructor, an abdominal wall separation can be significantly reduced, if not entirely eliminated. An abdominal wall separation leaves the abdominals weak and can result in back, neck, and hip pain.

C-Section Complications

Almost 32% of mothers deliver a baby via c-section, a major abdominal surgery, then leave the hospital 4-5 days later without a referral for physical therapy or information about how to rehabilitate after. When not properly rehabilitated, a woman may experience back, neck, and hip pain, scar tissue adhesions, and pelvic pain.

A Shift in Quality of Life & Overall Wellbeing

Becoming a mother for the first time is a huge transition that women aren’t always prepared for. It’s a shift in identity. Experiencing grief in this transition is normal but it doesn’t mean a woman shouldn’t find support to help her through this process. Donna Helete, Regenerative Grief Coach explains that grief doesn’t just happen during times of loss; it can happen in transitions – even in the happy, celebratory times.

With the body and hormones shifting in a woman’s body in preparation for delivery and post-delivery, women often claim they don’t feel like themselves anymore. While some have shared this with their doctors, it’s often dismissed as “normal,” and “part of the territory.” While it’s common, finding support through a therapist or coach will help your recovery period and overall well being in the long run.

How to get the support you need

OB/GYNs have very little training in their education about rehabilitation after surgery and birth. The best way to rehabilitate is to get a referral for a physical therapist or a pilates instructor who specializes in post-baby recovery. Remember that it’s never too late to do this, even if your baby is now 20+ years old.

Your physical therapist or pilates instructor will know how to properly assess your body and rehabilitative needs. More than likely, whether you had a vaginal delivery or a c-section, you will need deep core, pelvic floor, and hip strengthening.

As a highly intuitive Pilates Educator, Natalie Garay, otherwise known as The Pilates Mama, is the owner of {ther • happy}. For more information, connect with her at youneeedtherhappy.com or hello@youneedtherhappy.com.