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I was so nervous for my first, 6-week postpartum check up, and totally shocked by my experiences that followed my check up. I remember getting ready to go in the room, new baby asleep in the car seat and waiting patiently for my doctor to come in. The experience itself was simple, quick and at-first, such a relief. I was given the “okay” and told everything was healed as it supposed too. I had a small tear during labor, and this was with my first baby, but was told it all healed up nicely. I walked out feeling excited and nervous all at the same time.
What I wasn’t told was so much more. I walked out of there feeling happy that I survived my first birth and recovered by 6-weeks like you are “supposed” too. But, there was so much my doctor didn’t tell me, and some utterly painful experiences I hope to shed some light on, just in case you go through them yourself!
Also, if you are pregnant and thinking ahead, I highly encourage you to check out my pregnancy fitness program, The Belly-Only Pregnancy Fitness Program. I’ve been requested more than I can count to create a program like this, and I am now certified as a Pre/Post Natal Exercise Specialist! I have put all my energy into this new program! If you are looking to stay as fit as possible during pregnancy, protect your pelvic floor and strengthen your abs SAFELY to prevent Diastasis Recti, this is the program for you!
5 Things I Wasn’t Told At My 6-Week Postpartum Check Up:
First, Healed Doesn’t Mean Normal:
When my doctor told me everything healed great, I thought that meant everything was going to feel just fine. Things weren’t fine. I was healed in the sense that the small tear was back together, but little did I know, there was scar tissue that developed that made things very uncomfortable and painful at times. If you do experience tearing at all during birth, your body may look find to the doctor on the outside, but scar tissue can develop that you can’t see, or even know is there. Our bodies develop scar tissue to help prevent that area from tearing again. Basically, I didn’t know things weren’t healed properly until I tried sex after my first baby. It was scary and uncomfortable, and I hope that me sharing this experience with you, can help lead you into the right direction! I went back to the doctor twice, was checked by the senior doctor internally, and still told everything was fine.
I knew something wasn’t right. I asked again for help after anti-anxiety medicine (which I have never taken in my life, or had issues with anxiety in the past), didn’t work. I am not a medication person. I barely took the pain medication after birth, and I only take ibuprofen when it is absolutely necessary. So, this was really frustrating to me. I was told it was all in my head…but I soon found out it wasn’t.
I was told I could try pelvic floor therapy, to see if that would help, which leads me to my next tip!
Second, Physical Therapy Is An Option:
After seeing my doctor again, a few weeks later, I was told that I could see a postpartum, physical therapist to help me. I had no idea this existed, but it really was super helpful. It was also completely awkward because I was examined internally, and the therapy was done internally. Basically, I ended up having scar tissue that developed, which was in the way and painful. I saw my physical therapist a few times a month, where she used manual and ultrasound therapy to break down the scar tissue. I also had to use numbing cream for quite some time to help. The numbing cream made the therapy tolerable, which is really one of the weirdest things I’ve had to experience – ever. But, the therapist was very professional and friendly, and I really wanted to get better.
After a few months, I got a lot better. Soon, I was able to tolerate therapy without numbing cream, and I moved on to feeling closer to normal about 6 months after birth.
Yes, things didn’t seem to be healed until 6 months postpartum, and many mamas don’t realize that this it actually very normal.
Third, Your Pelvic Floor May Be Too Tight:
I also learned that my pelvic floor was very tense and tight in my meetings with my pelvic floor physical therapist. She used some electric nodes to monitor my muscle contractions in my pelvic floor. What she told me was that my contractions were great. I could flex my muscles and had good mind connection in that direction. I was not, however, able to release the contraction and relax my pelvic floor muscles very well. I just kinda stayed contracted. I didn’t fully understand the implications of this, but now that I specialize in helping mamas heal after birth through my online program, I actually have a full ab rehab and pelvic floor restore program as a part of the full program that discusses and practices both contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor.
Strengthening the pelvic floor is over-emphasized in publications and online. There aren’t a lot of resources for mothers in terms of the full realm of pelvic floor healing. I was handed a sheet of some exercises to do after baby from my doctor, but I had NO IDEA how important they were. A tight pelvic floor usually leads to urinary incontinence, and a feeling of urgency and inability to hold your urine. It can also be painful and cause balance issues. Make sure to practice both movements of your pelvic floor after baby. Contracting and relaxing to fully redevelop your mind muscle connection.
Fourth, Nutrition Plays A Role In Healing:
After my first baby, I was more concerned about losing the weight than eating for healing. I ended up losing the baby weight fast because I’ve eaten healthy for many years prior to babies, but it wasn’t with a focus on healing. There are some amazing foods you can eat that help your body repair. Adding more collagen, vitamin C, antioxidants and protein is essential to helping your body repair properly. Nourishing for your milk supply is equally important, but doctors don’t give us any advice on this. I wasn’t given a list of foods like i have in my program, to focus on for healing. I also wish I ate more protein. My second and third pregnancies, deliveries and postpartum periods were so much better I believe because I focused on better nutrition for healing, I’ve even developed a protein powder specifically for postpartum, breastfeeding mamas wanting to nourish properly, produce a healthy milk supply, and also lose weight.
In my years of helping mamas lose weight while breastfeeding, there was a protein powder missing that was specifically designed for breastfeeding mamas to combat these sugar cravings and fully nourish mamas. I am a firm believer in nutrition for milk supply, so I created Milk Dust. Milk Dust is literally your best friend for lactation and weight loss. It has a milk-boosting herb blend, plenty of protein, sugar-craving-busting herbs like Tumeric, Cinnamon Bark Root and minerals like Chromium which have all been used to balance blood sugar. In addition to all these fabulous items. I hand-picked specific vitamins like Folate (L-Methylfolate) because folate is still important during lactation! Almost just as important as in pregnancy. I also hand-picked vitamin B12 for energy, and super foods like Chlorella, Spirulina, Spinach, Blueberries and more. The protein powder is free of soy, gluten, dairy and corn. It is NON-GMO, Vegan and plant-based!! I highly recommend you check it out if you are craving sugar. It is only sweetened with Stevia, Monk Fruit and Organic Cane Juice, which means there is very little sugar, but it is very sweet, so you still get to drink something like a milkshake! THE PRESALE IS LIVE AND IT SELLS OUT FAST!
There is no other clean, super nutrient-dense protein powders that are specifically made for postpartum healing, nourishment, lactation and weight loss. There are thousands of mamas waiting for this to launch, and I am so excited to finally have a product that helps mamas nourish themselves while also losing weight.
Fifth, Postpartum Exercise Doesn’t Need To Happen Right Away:
As I mentioned, I was given just a sheet of small exercises I never did. I had to go to physical therapy after my 6-week check up for a couple months or so, so I never jumped into working out again til almost a year postpartum after my first baby. Things were very different with my second and third, but with my first, everything was all so new. Postpartum exercise is not the key to your weight loss, and your body does need time to put itself back together before you start running miles, getting back to boot camp or doing spin classes again. Don’t force your body to do something it isn’t ready for, and take time to heal your abs and pelvic floor before you start working out. It will help prevent diastasis recti, which I still have an umbilical hernia that shows up in the evenings more after lots of therapy and losing all the weight. If you feel great, have no issues with back pain, pelvic pain, and your gap between your ab muscles is naturally coming back together, you may be able to get right into working out right after baby. A lot of this depends on how fit you were during pregnancy. Gaining minimal weight during pregnancy also really helps with this.
Here’s the postpartum fitness routine I do before I even get to 6 weeks, that helped so much after my second and third babies. Here is how you can start strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, and I have an amazing program, The Postpartum Cure, all about healing, nourishing, breastfeeding and losing the baby weight in an online version and app version.
I really hope my postpartum healing experience helps encourage you if you aren’t feeling fantastic by 6 weeks. There’s so much more going on, and it’s normal! Don’t worry, and don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor over and over to find a solution. Time does wonders as well, and it’s okay if you need more of it!