You go to your six-week check up expecting your OBGYN to give you the all-clear to return to exercise so you can start torching calories and lose the baby weight. But did you know that even with clearance from your OBGYN you may still be at risk for injuries or maybe not even ready to return if you are experiencing leaking, pressure, pain, or coning of the abdominals. During those long six-weeks after having your baby, you weren't supposed to be exercising so how would you know the only time you leak is when you're jumping, running, or moving quickly? You aren't supposed to have sex either, so how would you know it's painful? You aren't supposed to be exerting more energy or resistance around the home so how would you know if your abdominals are truly separated? For these reasons, many women can make the problem worse by returning to an exercise program before they are truly ready.
Please, don't get me wrong, go to your OBGYN for your six-week postpartum check up as they are checking other things a physical therapist most definitely doesn't. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, here are some of the items your doctor will check for (1) :
1. Mood and Emotional Wellbeing: screening for postpartum depression and providing with resources for help.
2. Infant Care and Feeding: assessing comfort and confidence with caring and nursing your newborn.
3. Sexuality, Contraception, and Birth Spacing: resumption of intercourse, contraceptive options and discussing if you are wanting more children/how far apart you are wanting them.
4. Sleep and Fatigue: suggest coping mechanisms for disrupted sleep and use of family to relieve some of the caretaker duties.
5. Physical Recovery from Birth: checking on incisions (perineum or cesarean) or tearing caused from birth and assure it is healing correctly. Clear to return to exercise if appropriate.
6. Chronic Disease Management: perform glucose testing for those who had gestational diabetes and review medication especially for those who are breastfeeding.
7. Health Maintenance: do pap smear and pelvic exam as indicated.