5 Tips for Postpartum Period
Hawaii pelvic therapy is a vital component to any woman’s postpartum journey, but it is often overlooked. As mothers, it is our nature to care for others. However, after having a baby, it’s so important to honor the rapid changes our bodies go through and allow others to care for us. Pelvic therapy can be just the care we need for holistic healing; body, mind, and spirit.
This article is written by Dr. Jenna Mullen, a Doctor of Physical Therapy and owner of Nalu Physical Therapy. She provides in-home pelvic therapy on Oahu and has a clinic space in Kahala. After the unmedicated and unplanned home birth of her son, she is passionate about helping more women have smooth births and recover faster postpartum so they can do what they love and be the best mamas they can be!
Nalu Physical Therapy in Kahala
As a mother, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and a Pelvic Floor Specialist, I work with a lot of women during pregnancy and postpartum and understand their specific needs personally and professionally. They typically come to me with issues of:
- bladder leakage
- back or pelvic pain
- pain with intimacy
- a heavy feeling in their pelvis
- concerns with their abdomen splitting
- birth traumas
I help them address these issues, understand their bodies more, and optimize their healing. I do this by treating the whole body and not just the pelvis, all in the location they feel the most comfortable.
- I know it’s difficult to leave the house with a newborn and that’s why I come to them with in-home care.
- I also have a relaxing and comfortable clinic space in Kahala for the mama’s that need an outing.
- This is an intimate experience and that’s why I offer a free video consultation call so my clients can meet me before our initial session and can feel more comfortable and know what to expect.
With over 10 years of experience in pelvic therapy, I have learned so much from my patients and my own journey becoming a mother a year-and-a-half ago. Here are a few takeaways that I want to share with you.
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Hawaii Pelvic Therapy Tips
1. Be Kind and Gentle with Yourself
- You are going through a big life change, especially if this is your first baby. Not only is your body healing, but your hormones, sleep, and energy levels are changing day byday. It’s a lot.
- Use good and uplifting self-talk. If you tend to have negative self-talk, be mindful of what the voice in your head is saying and only accept kindness.
- Imagine if your best friend were in your place…would you say the things you are saying to yourself to her?
- Lead with kindness with yourself and those around you, and when you can’t, take a nap.
2. Make Every Baby-Feeding Moment Comfortable.
Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, you are feeding your baby a lot in a 24-hour period. Take the time to get the extra pillows to support your body or ask someone to get them for you. It’s worth it and can make the hours feeding your baby, and then holding a full and sleepy baby, much more enjoyable and restful for everyone.
- Sit with your shoulders over your hips. You may need pillows behind your upper and lower back.
- Make sure your arms are supported with pillows or an arm rest. The pillows should be what is holding up your baby, not your arm muscles.
- If you are breastfeeding, put enough pillows under your baby so she is at the level of your breast when you are sitting comfortably. Avoid leaning forward to bring your breast to your baby’s mouth.
- If you are lying on your side to feed your baby, have a pillow behind your back and pelvis and/or a pillow between your legs. This allows your body to relax in the position needed to feed your baby.
- Before you sit down to hydrate your baby, make sure you have your water and nutritious snack in arm’s reach.
3. Your Daily Activities ARE Exercise
Getting back to exercise is an important thing for our lifelong health and necessary to keep up with our ever-growing baby. However, our mindset around what exercise is needs to shift within the first year after having a baby.
- In the first few weeks to months postpartum, just getting out of bed, lifting your baby and going for a walk is maximal effort.
- As your baby gets older and bigger, carrying and lifting a squirming child, getting up from the ground, and doing house chores may be maximal effort.
- Everyone’s healing is different and depends on genetics, the amount of sleep you are getting, nutrition, etc. Don’t compare yourself to others and let your body be your guide.
4. Make Every Movement Healing
If you are using good form and activating your core properly, your daily activities can strengthen and heal your body, including your pelvic floor. On the other hand, if we are not engaging our core properly, the little things we do throughout the day can actually slow our healing or cause injury.
To help activate your core properly:
- “Blow Before You Go.” Slowly exhale on the hardest part of the activity you are doing. Lifting your baby? Inhale, then start to exhale when you pick them up.
- Draw your bellybutton to your spine BEFORE you move. Sitting up in bed? Think of pulling your belly button to your spine, roll on your side, then exhale as you push yourself up to sitting. Relax your belly and inhale once sitting.
This takes thought, intention, and time but is key to healing postpartum. It also gets easier and faster the more you do it.
5. Reach out to a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist
- Bladder leakage and pelvic pain are common after having a baby but they are not normal. These are your body’s signs that something is overstressed and not working properly.
- Your OB may not refer you to a pelvic floor specialist, but you can advocate for yourself and seek help at any point in your recovery.
- Whether you had a vaginal or cesarean birth, your body went through a lot of changes and there is help out there for you.
- Once your baby is here, it’s hard to prioritize yourself, but you are worth it!
Hawaii Pelvic Therapy can help you navigate the changes in your body after having a baby. It can ease your postpartum journey and heal faster so you can focus on your family. Once your baby is here, it’s harder to prioritize yourself, but you are worth it!
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I'm a USMC spouse, South Carolina native, recovering homeschool mama of a 4 boy circus. They've taught me the most important facet of family photography: KEEP IT FUN!