After bringing baby home, your body will need lots of TLC, and there are amazing products out there that I love to recommend in order to ease your recovery. Whether you had a belly birth or a vaginal delivery, here is a list of my favourite products with their links, and I will tell you why I think they should be part of your postpartum healing kit 🙂
Bleeding will likely be experienced after bringing baby home, whether you had a vaginal delivery or a belly birth. In addition, you may experience a bit of bladder control issues especially in the first week postpartum. Having protection that provides good breathability for your lady bits will be super important to protect your skin. I would recommend using pads that are specifically designed for urine incontinence and provide that extra breathability compared to menstrual pads.
Poise pads are definitely my pick in that department, and they can be found in any drug store. You may want to choose extra absorbency especially for the first week 🙂 PRODUCT LINK
Constipation is one of the most common issues that mammas report after birth. Since constipation and straining is a huge factor in pelvic floor dysfunctions (especially postpartum), we want to put all the chances on your side to poo easily! And squatting to poo is one easy way to support your bowel health without too much effort! By squatting, yourelease some muscles in your pelvic floor and help creating more space around the rectum, which reduces the chances of straining on the toilet. PRODUCT LINK
Whether you have bad hemorrhoids, pain in the vaginal or rectum area, or pain on your belly wound, these gel packs will work wonders at relieving pain. You can use them as cold or hot packs, and they remain flexible when cold which is the key if you want to sit on them comfortably. PRODUCT LINK
This ergonomic Peri Bottle is fantastic when you are dealing with a vaginal tear, and painful urination or bowel movement. Fill the bottle with the temperature of your choice, and spray some on your lady bits or anus after bowel movement and urination. Simply pat dry after. No painful wiping with TP! The upside down design makes it super easy to use while sitting on the toilet! It may not be as useful for mammas who had elective cesarean births, but for any mamma who went through a vaginal delivery or an emergency c-section with a long pushing stage, I highly recommend it! PRODUCT LINK
Witch hazel has amazing healing properties, and can be very soothing on the perineal area after a vaginal birth or for any mom who suffer from hemorrhoids. FridaBaby designed these handy pre-made perineal pads with witch hazel, which you can leave in your refrigerator for a cooling and soothing effect. However, you can totally make your own home-made ones using menstrual pads and witch hazel 🙂 PRODUCT LINK
For any mom who had a belly birth, I recommend wearing a soft belly wrap for the first 4 weeks in order to protect the surgical site. For moms who had a vaginal delivery, I tend to recommend belly wrapping on a case-by-case basis. Any mom who has a severe diastasis recti or report having trouble lifting their baby because of core weakness may benefit from belly wrapping, but again it is based on each mamma’s needs.
My favourite wrap is the one from Bellies Inc, as it is adjustable and soft which is super important to protect your pelvic organs. We want to avoid a rigid support that would create too much tension on your abdomen. Indeed, this increased pressure could actually bring too much pressure down on the pelvic organs and potentially increase the chances of developing a prolapse postpartum.
Bottom line: if you are not sure if belly wrapping is for you or not, ask your Pelvic Health PT before investing in a wrap 🙂
If you are a client of mine and are interested in getting the Bellies Inc wrap, contact me 🙂
Having a good support during your baby’s feeds can make a world of a difference in the aches and pain in your shoulders andback. This pillow is great because it can be secured through the strap, so will not slide away from your body as you are feeding your little one. It also has a handy pocket for your water bottle so you can stay hydrated at all times during feeds. Many of my clients have recommended it! PRODUCT LINK
HOW TO SELF-ASSESS YOUR PELVIC FLOOR?
The Forward-leaning Inversion is meant to create room in the lower uterus by using gravity. The goal is to stretch the ligaments of the uterus and cervix to remove tensions and restrictions around your baby and ease labour and birth. It is also a great stretch if you experience any round ligament pain (around the belly button) or pain on the sides of your belly bump. Lastly, it can be used during your contractions in labour if your cervix is not dilating properly.
When should you be doing forward-leaning inversions?
How to perform a forward leaning inversion pose?
**Important: If you have doubts about the safety of this pose during your pregnancy, get clearance from your medical provider first.**
When should you AVOID doing forward-leaning inversions?
How often should you do it?
Plus – I am so proud of you – you checked all the boxes:
First, no matter how much running you did before delivering your baby, you will need to take things slow. It does not matter if you were 5 months pregnant when you ran your last half marathon…! Sorry!! In the postpartum running world, you will never regret taking your time so you can protect your pelvic health and continue to support your body in its healing. Because, yes, your fourth trimester may be over, but your body is still healing from your pregnancy and birth, and will still be for up to a year!
Also, being a new mom…
With all these changes, it is understandable that you will need to take it slow, and start with a program that will allow your body to progressively adapt to this new load.
In order to put all the chances on your side to have a successful return to running, a few things to consider:
Now let’s dive into the details of your running program! The following postpartum interval program was designed by physiotherapists and can be found on the running clinic website. I translated it from French, for your convenience 🙂
I know those first few runs will look very short at first and may leave you on your appetite, but the goal here is to provide your body with an opportunity to slowly adapt to the demand without overloading the system. Progressively, your ligaments and muscles will build up strength and adapt to the load, and it will decrease the chances of experiencing pelvic symptoms like urine incontinence, urinary urgency, pelvic prolapse and pelvic pain, to name a few.
I had clients who started running continuously (without walking breaks), and after a few runs started experiencing pain in their lower back and pelvis. We had to fix their alignment before they could return again. The second time around, they followed the program and had much more success, their symptoms did not return. The body never lies! It will tell you when you are trying to go too fast. Trying to cut corners sometimes sets you back in your fitness goals, so why not doing things right from the start 🙂
I always recommend starting on flat courses (you can walk the hills if your environment does not allow you to run strictly on flat), and choose a soft terrain (ex: trails) over road to decrease the impact. Progressively include hills, starting with running up hills and walking down hills. Downhill running is definitely something you should try later on in your program (in the last weeks), since it puts more stress on your pelvis.
During your run and in the next 24h, pay attention to your body symptoms. If you experience any urinary leakage, pelvic heaviness (sensation that something is hanging down in your vagina), pelvic or hip pain, or urinary urgency, you may want to check in with your Pelvic Health Physiotherapist so they can help you figure out what is going on.
Now, did you know that the way you run affects tremendously the load applied on your pelvis? And since your pelvis is trying to recover from your pregnancy and birth, running with proper technique could make a huge difference on your success and symptoms.
A few pointers:
The most insightful thing you can do is to ask someone to take a video of your running so you can self-assess those elements – get a front view and a side view. This is exactly what I do with my postpartum clients who are ready to go back to running – it is helpful to watch the video in slow motion to see where the foot lands (heel versus forefoot), the angle of your trunk (upright versus backward or forward), your stride length, how you use your arms, etc. Of course, don’t overwhelm yourself if you are not sure what to look at, and consult with a Pelvic Health PT who has some training in postpartum running assessments!
The coregeous ball is definitely one of my favourite self-care tools. I use it pretty much every day for different purposes – whether it is for back pain, posture, digestive issues, stretching and so on! Want to learn how to use it?
Watch the video below 🙂
Low back, hip & pelvic pain during & after pregnancy can restrict mobility and limit moms in their daily activities. Having some self-management techniques to alleviate the pain can be a life saver for a better sleep, improved mobility & remaining active.
How about using massage balls for self-treatment? You can do it anywhere, anytime, for as long as you want! Isn’t it the best?
WHO IS THIS FOR?
First watch the warm-up video to help your tissues get in the mood and ease into the release. Then, move on to the next video for more in depth massage techniques.
**The Yoga Tune up massage balls are available at my clinic for purchase, or online :)**
Pubic symphysis pain during or after pregnancy is very common.
What can you do to relieve it?
Watch my video to learn more 🙂
If you have abdominal discomfort from bloating or constipation,
this video for you!
Or if you came to see me and I mentioned that you had tension around your intestines, this video is for you too!
Here below is a video with two techniques you can do at home to release your small intestine and colon.
This is a quite powerful health tool that you can use for yourself or your kids to help with digestion!
Why do we have tensions in our guts?
Stress, intense core workouts, habit of clenching the belly to “look flat”, poor diet, and trauma (ex: car accident, falls) can all lead to tensions in the fascias and connective tissues around our guts.
Why is it bad to have tensions in our intestines?
It can lead to many problems, including:
– Decreased flow and mobility in the digestive system, leading to bloating/constipation and discomfort along the digestive track in some cases
– Increasing pressure on the pelvic organs such as the bladder, uterine and rectum, and can lead to urine leakage, urinary urgency, painful menses
How to prevent tensions to build up in my guts?
– Decreasing your stress level as much as possible
– Having a healthy diet that includes adequate fibre & water intake
– Avoiding to clench your core to look like you have a “flat belly” through your daily activities- let it go instead, let it breath 🙂
– Once in awhile, massaging your intestine with the techniques demonstrated in my video to keep things moving!
(If you rather watch my video summarizing these things, click link above!)
Hemorrhoids and anal fissures are a real pain in the butt to deal with. And when you just gave birth and you have a newborn to take care of, the last thing you want is to cry out of pain on the toilet every time you have a bowel movement. So let’s make things easier for you mammas.
First, you may have hemorrhoids or anal fissures, or the whole package deal (both).
What is the difference between hemorrhoids and anal fissures?
Hemorrhoids are basically swollen veins that are bulging out of the rectum lining. They can be located internally (inside the rectum) and/or externally (outside of the anus). Some people have them and are not symptomatic (inactive hemorrhoids). A flared-up or active hemorrhoid is normally caused by recent increased of pressure in the pelvic area. For example, childbirth, pregnancy and severe constipation are common causes.
An anal fissure is a small cut in the lining of the anus. It can be caused by childbirth, constipation, straining, passing large stool, and anal sex.
What are the symptoms?
Both hemorrhoids and anal fissures can present the following symptoms:
If you do not have these symptoms but you have had them in the past, that means that your condition is under control (hemorrhoids are not active, or fissure is healed). That’s awesome!!! Keep it that way by following tips #1 et #3 below 🙂
What to do?
#1 Keep your stool soft!
The first thing to look at is the quality of your stool. Keep it as soft as you can – you do not want a hard stool to go through these painful spots, believe me! Target a #4 type stool on the Bristol Stool chart, like a snake or a soft sausage. Drink plenty of water and check your fibre intake – if you need more info, read my blog post about bowel health.
#2 Decrease inflammation
My number one to achieve this is a very natural way to decrease swelling: good ol’ ice! But how do you ice your butt hole? Using this wonderful device called the ANUREX which you keep in your freezer. It literally saves lives (according to my clients…!) – the best investment you will ever make to sooth the area. It comes with a little bottle of lube that you can put around it to make insertion easier. You basically insert the anurex in your rectum for a few minutes to help decreasing pain and swelling. I recommend using it 2-3x/day when things are flared-up.
There are other ways to decrease inflammation such as using topical prescription drugs. Some of my clients found lots of relief in Proctofoam which is a numbing foam with cortisone. It is used with an applicator that you gently insert in the anus. Ask your doctor 🙂
The other thing you should consider to decrease inflammation and pressure is to sit on a donut cushion (a cushion with a hole in the middle). This way, your anus will be free of pressure and it will be better for the healing process. You can find those cushions pretty much anywhere in health care stores or even Walmart.
#3 Squat to poo!
I cannot put more emphasis on the importance of the squat position during bowel movement!! I told you about it in my post about bowel health, and this was more as a preventative recommendation. But here my friends, I am telling you: you don’t have the choice anymore!! You need to get a Squatty Potty!!! Squatting during bowel movement relaxes the tension from your pelvic floor muscles around the rectum, and makes it easier to release stool without straining. Since avoiding to strain is huge in healing hemorrhoids and anal fissures, you really want to put all the chances on your side. The Squatty Potty is available at Canadian Tire (in the bathroom items aisle) or you can also purchase it online. Or else you use whatever you have at home to elevate your feet while you poop – however make sure it is high enough so your knees are higher than your hips!
I followed all these tips but I am still struggling….
OK – do not panic. You are not a lost cause, there are still a few things you could consider. First, go see a Pelvic Health PT to see if there is any tension in your pelvic floor that could make your stool more difficult to pass, thus restricting the healing of your condition. I learned a super powerful technique at the Institute for Birth Healing called the “anal sphincter release” and it has been working like a charm to reduce tensions around the anus and make more space for the stool to go through. It is a super gentle technique to relax the anal sphincter.
The last resort option is to consult your doctor and see if you would be a candidate for surgery. I would not recommend this option if your symptoms are still recent (<3 months), and you have not tried all of the above. Hemorrhoids can be removed through different procedures. But they are only removed if they are causing extreme pain and difficulty with bowel movement (that means – they won’t remove them for aesthetic reasons just because you don’t “like how they look” – anyway I swear you do not want to go through this surgery if you do not have symptoms, because the recovery is quite painful!)
I hope this gives you a few tools to manage your symptoms.