Our natural instinct is to protect the spine. To protect the spine when lifting heavy our body uses intra-abdominal pressure. This means we load up the abdominal cavity with pressure. This also puts a lot of pressure on the pelvic floor.
During pregnancy, our pelvic floor had to take on the job of carrying around a baby. Therefore, postpartum it is important in recovery to not overload the pelvic floor with a large amount of pressure.
This will change the way you lift postpartum. Just as you would with any type of rehab process, progression is key. Starting slow and working our way to our goals and beyond.
I know, I know, here I go again on my breathing lecture. I promise it is with the best intentions to help your healing process. Being able to breathe correctly allows you to not only lengthen the pelvic floor but also contract and help provide the needed support when lifting.
Here is a couple of modifications we can make to help lessen the load on the pelvic floor. Start all exercises with a good inhale down, and use the exhale at the point of exertion. For example, when doing a squat inhale as you move down and exhale as you come up. This can also be modified, if you feel pressure when going down, particularly those healing a prolapse. You will want to exhale down and while coming up. The exhale provides the needed support from the pelvic floor and also eliminates the amount of pressure in the abdominal cavity.
Modification number two, lessen the load. I know many of us are anxious to get back to our "normal" lifting habits postpartum. Think about what your body has been through, if I was to take the rehab protocol after knee surgery, it would NOT say go back to lifting the same amount as prior to the injury. You will get back to where you want to be, give yourself time and grace. Start slow and add progressions within your program.
Mama Said Move