Postnatal Myth Busters by Hannah Barrett and Finola Burrell
As mums, we are surrounded by postpartum information and advice, and it can be so confusing to know what is actually true! Below physiotherapist Finola Burrell and Hannah Barrett of Yoga Girl London uncover five of these common postpartum myths.
There’s more of these in our postnatal e-guide Strength Through Yoga that ensures a safe and effective journey to restoring strength, and to support you in both body and mind. It is a 16-week programme that is evidence-based, co-written by a physiotherapist and has been reviewed by medical professionals.
MYTH 1. DON’T DO ANYTHING FOR SIX WEEKS
In most cases doing nothing is not necessary. Unless you’re specifically put on bed rest, for general health purposes you would never be advised to do nothing. You’re not sick, however, you do need to avoid strenuous or high impact exercise in this time to allow your body to heal.
MYTH 2. INCONTINENCE AFTER BIRTH IS ‘NORMAL’
Incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse (POP) can be very uncomfortable and can keep you from doing what you want. If you suffer from these conditions after giving birth, don’t hesitate to consult your health-care provider so they can refer you to a certified pelvic floor physical therapy specialist. Your physiotherapist can help identify and treat other factors leading to prolapse and incontinence and teach you safe pelvic floor exercises (Kegels).
Mild to moderate cases of POP can be treated using specific pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises like Kegels. Learn more about how Kegel exercises help with incontinence and POP.
MYTH 3. POSTNATAL DEPRESSION WILL GO AWAY ON ITS OWN WITH TIME
This is unfortunately not true. Postpartum depression is a serious illness that requires professional help. It’s so important to get the help and support that is out there. Never be afraid to tell a health professional that you are struggling. I did and they pointed me in the right direction and it was the best thing I could have done.
MYTH 4. NEVER DO CRUNCHES IF YOU HAVE DIASTASIS RECTI
This is only true if you can’t correctly engage the pelvic floor and transverse abdominal muscles. If you can correctly engage these muscles, studies have found that crunches do not worsen diastasis recti. We recommend avoiding crunches for six weeks and until you can engage your core muscles without doming your stomach during a head lift movement.
MYTH 5. THE ABDOMINALS WILL ALWAYS BE WEAKER AFTER CHILDBIRTH
For me, this statement goes hand in hand with the phrase ‘you will never get your body back post-baby’. When I was growing up these are the messages I heard over and over again and I loathe hearing them now.
With motivation, consistency and the right exercises, your core can be stronger post-pregnancy – mine 100% is. And in terms of ‘getting your body back’ – I don’t think it’s the right way of thinking about it. Instead, think of loving your postpartum body, be grateful for what it’s given you and learn to love it unconditionally.
Credit: Strength Through Yoga is available for £39.99 at www.yogagirllondon.com