Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Recovery after pregnancy and C-Section

Recovering after pregnancy and C-Section in particular is hard. You have a new baby (or more!) to think about, if you've had a C-Section then you have your own body to care for and if you've never had a major operation before it can feel as if you'll just never recover or be the person you were before. Throw in a week spent in critical care unit following the birth of your baby and a bad dose of the baby blues and well, for me, it left me in a bad place. Following my 6 week check I decided I needed to do something with my broken body and mind. These are the 4 things which saved me!

Yoga - Getting back to basics to relieve the strains of caring for a newborn was essential. Gentle exercises and stretches to slowly re-build the body and stitch the abdomen back together. Neck and shoulder releases, simple seated side stretches, gentle rolling glute bridges are key. Breathing, my god, breathing deeply and fully... 

Pilates - I used to hate pilates...what was the point when I had yoga?! Well, I was wrong! The small and controlled movements of pilates do wonders for your core strength, balance, spine and posture which I've never experienced with my ashtanga practice. I'm definitely a pilates convert! 

Structural integration - I went to see a fantastic therapist for 6 sessions of structural integration, which is based on the bodywork 'Rolfing'. From the first session I could stand up straight again! With every session my tummy (and the rest of my torso) changed shape, so I am nearly back to pre-baby shape and with no residual pain! I can't recommend Angela Donovan (or SI) enough. Here's the explanation of Structural Integration from Angela's website (www.structuralbalance.co.uk)

KMI is a form of Structural Integration working with unique myofascial lines developed by Tom Myers called Anatomy Trains. These lines map connections through the whole body from foot to head, front to back and superficial to deep. Imbalances add strain to the body’s structure and can be felt as aches which often manifest over time into acute pain. 

KMI sessions look at the whole body and aim to balance the Anatomy Trains lines using hands on precise anatomical techniques.  The techniques release the connective tissue (fascia) to re-form tissue health, resolve complex postural and movement patterns and align the whole body.  The changes provoke ease of movement, greater balance and enhanced physical performance.

To achieve long standing results a structured series of 12 sessions is most affective.  Angela’s skill is to specifically design the series to suit individual problem(s).  What may be felt on the surface may not be the cause.  The sessions will work all areas of the body from toe to head and superficial to deep; allowing the body to rebalance.  Integrating the whole system is an approach that sets KMI apart from other kinds of bodywork or manual therapies.

And here's a link to a fascinating page on how it helps with the postpartum body and why other forms of exercise just won't work as well: 

http://rolfing-ca.com/ben_birth.htm

Finally, Mindfulness: I am reluctant to say meditation as though I love a sit, I rarely have time for it. Mindfulness however, can be practiced throughout the day and is important in maintaining a healthy mind and healthy relationships with yourself and others, which can often feel strain following the birth of a baby. 'Peace is every step' by Thich Nhat Hahn is a go to for me as it makes it so simple and is beautifully written. 

Let me know if there was anything that helped you following the birth of your babies, I'd like to hear about it. There's not much advice out there I've found but it's such an important topic as the health of mums is soooo important! 


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