Are you currently trying to recover from birth trauma or a birth injury? If so, postnatal physio may be just what you need to get you on the path to recovery!
According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, birth injuries and trauma during birth tend to fall into two categories: injuries to the perineal area, and injuries to the pelvic floor. In cases that fall into the second category, a postnatal physio can be an invaluable tool for recovery, getting women back to living life as normal.
Let’s take a look at all the things you need to know when it comes to postnatal physio and recovery, including the things to avoid, and the things to seek out, during the healing process.
Unsafe Recovery: Things To Avoid
When approaching postnatal recovery, there are two things we highly recommend you avoid during the healing process to prioritise your health:
If you think you can return to the physical activities you love straight right away after giving birth, think again! You need to take time to recover from birth, and ignoring symptoms during recovery could lead to dangerous consequences.
In fact, the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care recommends waiting for 4-6 months before returning to your full level of physical activity following birth. During this healing process, it is crucial you focus on recovery, keeping an eye out for any unusual symptoms that could indicate a health problem or birth complication.
No Six-Week Checkup
We also highly urge patients to prioritise their 6-week postpartum checkup with their OBGYN, especially in instances where there has been birth trauma, during recovery. This checkup is a key part of the healing process for women following childbirth, determining if the pelvic area has fully recovered from the birth, or if complications like pelvic floor dysfunction have occurred.
This is your opportunity to hear directly from your healthcare provider about how you are healing, which is especially important if healing from a birth injury. Use this appointment to determine how healing is going, and to get the go-ahead before returning to your normal level of physical activity and/or sexual activity.
Safe Recovery: Our Top Tips
So how can we ensure we fully recover from birth? These are our top tips for getting on track when recovering from birth trauma or birth injury:
Don’t Do It Alone
The best piece of advice we can give to any new mother, regardless of what kind of birth injury they’re recovering from, is not to do it alone.
Recovering from a birth injury can be tiring and traumatic. Don’t be afraid to lean on the people in your life during recovery for support, such as a spouse or other family members. Having a bit of help by your side can take you a much longer way during the recovery process.
Contact Your OBGYN For Support
As we touched on above, your healthcare professionals will be an important part of the healing process. Don’t be afraid to use them as a resource during the healing process, especially if you have concerns about things not healing properly.
Prioritise Rest and Nutrition
Another great thing to do during recovery is to make sure your body fully recovers with proper rest and nutrition.
It’s important to let the body heal with rest, prioritising good sleep when you can. You should also up your water intake and ensure you are eating a healthy diet during recovery. These things combined should help you recover from birth injuries much faster.
Try Postnatal Physio
Finally, our top tip for recovery is incorporating some form of postnatal physio into the recovery process.
Postnatal physiotherapy is an amazing tool for recovering from different kinds of birth injuries. The exact treatment will vary from patient to patient depending on their specific condition, but in general, all patients going through a postnatal recovery process should find something to take away from postnatal physio.
If you want to give physiotherapy techniques a go on your own, there are a few things you can try! Start with gentle pelvic floor exercises that focus on strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, such as Kegels or abdominal breathing techniques, to strengthen the pelvic floor during recovery.
How Does Postnatal Physio Help With Birth Injury Recovery?
Postnatal physiotherapy is an extremely beneficial treatment method for those recovering from birth injuries. But how exactly does it help? What can you expect a pelvic physiotherapist to do for you during the recovery process?
Here are some of the different treatment methods used in postnatal physiotherapy to help with birth injury recovery:
Pelvic Floor Muscle Building
For many birth injuries, the root cause of the problem is weakness or damage to the patient’s pelvic area.
During childbirth, the pelvic floor muscles can become weak and damaged leading to issues like urinary incontinence or even pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises done in physical therapy, like Kegels, can be prescribed to combat pelvic floor muscle dysfunction.
Strengthening Abdominal Muscles
Childbirth can also cause problems with the abdominal muscles, such as diastasis recti (a separation of the tummy muscles as a result of childbirth/pregnancy.)
In the same way, a physiotherapist can work to strengthen pelvic muscles, patients too can perform exercises to build core muscles and combat this issue. These are often core strengthening exercises, used to close abdominal muscle separation and health issues like back pain.
Massage Therapy for Pain
Sometimes, postnatal physiotherapy will focus on helping with pain management issues. Injuries like a perineal tear or c-section scars can lead to scar tissue and pain issues for many new mothers. In cases like these, massage therapy is a great tool for pain relief, promoting healing in affected areas.
Understanding Your Condition
Finally, a physiotherapist can help patients by getting them more fully informed about their conditions. In many cases, new mothers deal with postnatal birth complications on their own, unaware the symptoms they’re ignoring indicate larger pelvic floor issues.
By seeking support from a physiotherapist, patients can be assured not only of being diagnosed but being educated on their conditions. Education is the first step to recovery, so patients can better advocate for their bodies and champion their recovery process alongside their healthcare professionals.
Seeking Postnatal Physio Support
If you’re recovering from a postnatal issue, you’re not alone. Lots of women across Australia and around the world deal with the impacts of postnatal issues, including birth injuries and birth trauma, needing support to heal, build pelvic floor strength, and get back to living life as normal.
If you’d like more information, you can visit the Australian Birth Trauma Association website if you’d like more association on recovering and peer-to-peer support offerings.
You can also reach out to our team if you are interested in seeking postnatal rehabilitation in your recovery. Click here to book a consultation with a member of Sydney Pelvic Clinic today!