Physiotherapy - An Integral Part Of Post Natal Care

on Tuesday, 11 September 2012. Posted in Fitness For Family, Exercise and Fitness Written By: Dr. Vindhya Asthana

Understanding the role of exercise post childbirth

Physiotherapy - An Integral Part Of Post Natal Care

Childbirth is painful whether it is normal or caesarean. The first six weeks post delivery is most important when the body tries to regain its normal strength and recovers from the after effects of pregnancy. Thinking of exercises is yet another difficult task but it does play a vital role in your overall post-natal care. A good routine and a light exercise regimen will not only make your pelvic girdle strong enough to bear the everyday stress with the baby, but will also help you cut down the excess flab, improve blood circulation and get you moving faster.

Guidelines for general care

Maintain circulation

Swelling on the ankles can be taken care of by moving your feet in a circular motion and moving your toes briskly up and down for one minute, every one hour. Similarly, waggle your fingers, clench them into a fist and move the wrists in frequent intervals.

Moving out of bed

If you want to turn in the bed itself, the best way is to bend both knees, depress your tummy a bit and gently roll with a pillow placed between the legs. When you want to come out of the bed, gently roll to one side, allow your feet to go down and lift your body by pressing the mattress with your hand so that there is minimal pressure exerted on abdomen.

Climbing into bed

Getting into the bed requires knees to be supported against bed with one hand on tummy and other behind on the bed. Gently bend forwards to sit and lower the shoulders and head sideways while putting your feet on the bed. Taking help from a family member initially is helpful.

Back care

Before lifting baby or anything else plan it first. Always hold it close to body and bend knees instead of stooping down. Take pillows to raise the baby while feeding and sit on a chair with comfortable back with your feet resting on a foot rest.

Exercises for pelvic strengthening

  • Here are some effective ways of strengthening your pelvic muscles without straining yourself:
  • Exercises should never cause pain. To start with, lie down on your side, breathe in and breathe out while gently squeezing your tummy and pelvis.
  • Lie down straight with knees bent. Hollow your abdomen and flatten your back so that the pelvis tilts upwards, count ten and relax.
  • Lie down with knees bent. Pull your abdomen, buttocks and pelvis together and try to look at the knees with gentle expiration.
  • Lie down straight and try to squeeze the hips and pelvis as such you want to hold the urine. Cont ten and relax. This is the most important exercise to prevent urinary incontinence in later years.

General tips for post natal care

  • Avoid heavy household work for six weeks like vacuuming or laundry etc.
  • Practice yoga.
  • Take a walk.
  • Sleep well.
  • Avoid rotational movements or side bending.
  • Never cross legs or knees as it restricts circulation.
  • Make sure that baby’s changing surface is at an optimal height, to avoid straining the back.
  • Cough and sneeze with placing one hand on abdomen.
  • Never hang your feet or arms instead they should be resting on a support when you are sitting idle.


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