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The First 6 weeks Postpartum

Congratulations on your bundle of joy!

Now what?The first 6 weeks can be daunting. Here are some tips and tricks to help you on your way:




Bladder function:

In the early days postpartum your bladder sensation can be a little off. This is due to more abdominal space created by baby having “left the building”, catheter use and pian.

Within a few days this should return to normal. If you are struggling to feel your bladder filling, feel it emptying or any incontinence please inform your Obstetrician, Midwife or the Pelvic Health Physio’s at PROmotion.

It is normal for you to go and have a wee every 2-3 hours or with every breast feed. If it is painful or stinging due to tearing try leaning forward when urinating or pouring warm water over yourself as you urinate.

Bowel function:

While your pelvic floor muscles and connective tissues are recovering try to avoid straining.

Utilise a squatty potty to optimise your position on the toilet, please see the PROmotion blog on bowel health for some tips and tricks.

Please take stool softeners as needed and for as long as you need. Common stool softeners include:

Movicol, Osmalx, Lactulose

Magnesium Citrate supplements

Colloxyl

Foods that can help soften your stool:

“P” fruits – prunes, pears, peaches, plums

Kiwi fruit

Chia seeds, flax seeds, oats

Keep your fluid intake up, especially if you are breastfeeding. Think 2L of total fluid for “you and your poo” and any extra for breast milk creation. In the hot Perth climate this could look like 2.6+L of total fluid a day.

Perineal Trauma:

After a vaginal delivery some woman may experience perineal swelling, grazes or tears to their perineum or have experienced an episiotomy. Therapeutic Ultrasound and Laser therapy can assist in swelling reduction, healing and pain management. You can request these services while you are still an in-patient, but if your symptoms persist PROmotion can help. Please book an appointment with Taryn, Claire or Ali at any stage (it’s never too early) to help!

 

Breast Care:

I’m here to tell you that breastfeeding can be more challenging than you ever expected. At PROmotion we have physio’s trained in breast care working 5 days a week. We always prioritise breast appointments, because earlier treatment can make a huge difference.

But what can we help with?

Blocked ducts – Therapeutic ultrasound, lymphatic drainage and breast-feeding advice, to help reduce the blockage before it turns into bacterial mastitis.

Cracked, painful nipples – Laser therapy and breast-feeding advice can speed up the healing process and reduce pain.


Caesarean Section:

A caesarean section is complex abdominal surgery, cutting through 7 layers of tissue. Care needs to be taken during the early recovery phase, which means ask for help when you need it.

When recovering from a caesarean section, try and pretend you are still pregnant when it comes to getting out of bed or a low chair. Roll to the side to protect your incision and abdominal muscles while they recover. Avoid full sit-ups until you are 12 weeks postpartum, this allows adequate time for your incisions to heal.

Avoid carrying anything heavier than your baby for the first 6 weeks.

Garments like Tubigrip and SRC recovery shorts can add a layer of support over your caesarean section that can make you feel more comfortable.

If your scar is painful past the 6 weeks postpartum mark, or you do not like the appearance of the scar. We can assist with caesarean scar massage, laser therapy and manual therapy to improve the sensation and appearance.


Sexual intercourse:

We advise you to avoid penetrative sexual intercourse until you have stopped bleeding for a week or after your 6-week check. This gives your cervix time to close and reduces chance of infection. Pain and discomfort after childbirth (no matter whether you have a vaginal or caesarean delivery) is unfortunately common, but not something you should put up with. At PROmotion we can help with pain during sexual intercourse, be that from your pelvic floor muscles or any perineal trauma.


Exercise:

Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest!

For the first 6 weeks prioritise rest. Especially lying down (on your back, side or tummy – boobs permitting). No matter whether you have had a vaginal or caesarean birth your pelvic floor muscles and connective tissues have stretch and relaxed. They need time recover. Taking it easier in the first 6 weeks will allow you to achieve your exercise goals faster than pushing harder in the early stages.

If your body is feeling up to exercise, I highly recommend seeing Taryn, Claire and Ali earlier than 6 weeks to tailor an appropriate program for you. That will maximise recovery and allow you to start moving safely.

 

When in doubt with anything pregnancy, postpartum or pelvic health please come see the wonderful Pelvic Health Team at PROmotion Health. No concern is too little, our aim is to support you wherever you are!

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