Postnatal recovery part 2 - Physical Stress - PurerMama UK

Postnatal recovery part 2 - Physical Stress

Author: Lyndon from yummy tummies

Lyndon is a postnatal exercise and recovery specialist at Yummy Tummies.



Physical Stress
: this can come in so many different forms but some very obvious ones can be childbirth, labour, trauma from birth and physical changes that happen to your body throughout pregnancy.  Throughout pregnancy, your body goes through many changes.  For some mums to be, these changes can cause discomfort, misalignment and even pain.  Pain is stressful on the body.


During the postnatal period, the continual lifting and carrying your little one can be pretty hard work and you tend to perform a lot of movement patterns which you are not used to.


Exercise is also a huge one as exercise is simply stress you place on your body in order for it to adapt a certain way.  Performing too much exercise or the wrong kind of exercise for you at your postnatal stage of recovery can place too much physical stress on your body.  This may also increases the possibility of injury. 


Always find a professional that can properly assess and determine the best exercises specifically for you.


Physical Stress on the Body

Throughout pregnancy, labour and the early days of motherhood, your body goes through a lot of physical changes.  A lot of these changes are to get the body ready to give birth and to also allow more space for your baby to grow.


These range from the physical pelvis realignment and the subsequent alignment changes throughout your spine, to the hormonal changes such as relaxin being produced to allow the ligaments around the pelvic to relax to aid in a vaginal birth.  


Some of these changes can and do cause pain.  Pain is a built-in feedback mechanism to say that something is wrong.  If something is painful, you need to get it checked out.

Pain is also tiring and this adds stress to your body when you are already in a pretty tired state.


These are some potential ways in which physical stress/pain can occur:

  • Any areas of pain from pregnancy and the labour itself. This can be any pelvic pain, lower back pain throughout and after your pregnancy. 


  • Any pain caused by feeding or carrying / lifting the baby. With a newborn, you will tend to move and bend and squat down so many more times than you have ever done before.  Especially a forward bend movement where you are constantly picking up your baby and putting then down again.  If your body is not strong enough if this specific movement pattern, you may get overload type injuries and pain.


  • Not enough movement. The body is designed to move.  If you are just not moving enough it will tend to break down and seize up.


  • Too much exercise too soon. I see this one a lot with new mums who are super keen to get back in shape as soon as possible.  Loading the body too soon after giving birth can and will cause it to break down.


  • The wrong type of exercise when the body is not ready for it…yet. This is similar to the last point, but just doing the wrong type of exercise for your body when it is not physically ready for it can and does cause damage.


Solutions and Practical Strategies:

  • If you have any pain at all, always get a check-up from a women’s health physio or osteopath. Pain is not normal, so an early diagnoses is important.


  • Get help from a postnatal exercise specialist to strengthen the body in the specific Movement Patterns so that these movements become easier and the pelvic floor and deep abdominals are integrated


  • Don’t get your advice from Instagram…I see celebrities and so called experts all the time on social media doing exercises which are potentially harmful not only to themselves, but also to their millions of followers.


  • Take your time, it took 9 months to grow your baby and for your body to change, don’t expect your body to ‘bounce back’ in a couple of weeks.


 Considerations in breastfeeding / feeding

  • Chair (type/comfort)
    • You will be in this position for a lot of time over the course of the day/night, you want to make sure that you are as ‘comfortable’ as possible. Make sure that you look after yourself and don’t place yourself in an uncomfortable position as this may lead to postural problems and pain.
  • Change Table
    • I put my back out by changing my daughter on our bed. I was far too bent over for too long and when I went to get back up again, my back went into spasm.  Being in a forward bend position for long periods of time will place a lot of stress on your spine.  Choose one that is a good height for yourself.
  • Stretching
    • Simply spending a good amount of time unwinding the body and opening up the chest and shoulders will not only feel great, but also allow your body to go back to a better postural position.
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