Postnatal physiotherapy exercises for patients - Alfred Hospital
POST NATAL PHYSIOTHERAPY INFORMATION ALFRED HEALTH Sandringham Hospital As you will soon be going home from hospital, we would like to remind you of exercises and advice that will maximise your post-natal recovery. Try also to attend one of the Post-Natal classes, which run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10.30a.m. If you did not attend a class before going home you are welcome to attend as an outpatient after going home. PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES It is important for all women to exercise these muscles every day, especially after having a baby. We recommend you start now while in hospital to assist healing and to get into good habits. The pelvic floor muscles support the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus and bowel) help with good bladder and bowel function and increase your sensation during intercourse. Begin exercises on Day 2 • Start lying down.Tighten around your back passage, then your vagina and then your front passage and draw them up inside. • Hold this for up to three seconds. Let go and rest six seconds. Repeat up to four times. • Do these exercises four times each day. • Remember not to hold your breath or squeeze your legs or buttocks together whilst doing this exercise. It is normal, however, to feel your lower abdominal muscles contracting at the same time as your pelvic floor muscles. • Aim to progress to doing 10 repetitions with a 10 second hold as well as 5 short strong lifts. • Your physiotherapist in the Post Natal Class will show you other positions in which you can do this exercise. Over the next few weeks progress to exercising these muscles in standing as you feel able. • Get into the habit of always tightening these muscles before you cough, sneeze or lift. • To check that you are performing these exercises correctly, hold a small mirror so you can see the outside vaginal area. When you squeeze you should see the anus tighten and lift away from the mirror. Alternatively you can place your hand over your perineal area to see if you can feel your pelvic floor lifting away from your hand. ABDOMINAL EXERCISES You may start exercising your abdominal muscles as soon as you feel comfortable. In fact, after a Caesarean birth, bracing your muscles when rolling, getting out of bed and out of a chair will make you feel more comfortable as this helps support the incision site. You can do these exercises in a number of positions ie. lying on your back or on your tummy, in sidelying, in four point kneeling, standing and sitting. You will be shown the exercises in these positions during your post-natal class. Your physiotherapist will also teach you ways to progress these exercises over the next few weeks as your muscles get stronger.