Podcast Episode #82

10 Reasons to include postnatal rehab in your after birth plan

10 Reasons to include postnatal rehab in your after birth plan: Kath Baquie from FitNest Mama

Why do we need postnatal rehab?

When we think of rehab, we often think of rehab after a sports injury, or perhaps an addiction.

If a pro footballer has a knee injury, they may have surgery.

And then it’s a given they will have a period of rehab before getting back on the footy field.  This includes rest, recovery, and then a graduated return to exercise.

Whereas women might have a 6 week doctors check, and then no guidance whatsoever to helping her body recover from what has been one of the biggest events a body could go through.

Postnatal rehab is something that all women need, after giving birth, to some degree or other. 

Everyone’s postnatal rehab journey will be different.  Each woman is unique and has her own set of challenges and goals.  And every woman deserves to one day feel like a confident and strong mama.

What is postnatal rehab?
Why do I need postnatal rehab after I’ve had a baby?
How can I take care of myself after giving birth?
How long does it take to heal after giving birth?
What is the Postpartum recovery timeline?

These are all questions we will cover in today’s episode. 

Episode Links

Preparing for birth Pelvic health checklist
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Free 7 Day Trial Postnatal Workouts

FitNest Mama Website

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10 Reasons to include postnatal rehab in your after birth plan



Please note that this transcription was completed with computer voice recognition software. Quite often unanticipated grammatical, syntax, homophones, and other interpretive errors are inadvertently transcribed by the computer software. Please disregard these errors. Please excuse any errors that have escaped final proofreading.


If you are pregnant or you’ve recently had a baby this podcast is for you. I am your host, Kath Baquie, a physiotherapist working in women’s health and mum of three based in Melbourne, Australia. Join me as we dive into all things pelvic floor and core as well as talking to different industry experts, helping you to have a healthy pregnancy, confident childbirth, and strong postnatal recovery. Hit subscribe, you’re listening to the FitNest Mama Podcast. To attend my free pregnancy mini pelvic floor and call masterclass, head to fitnestmama.com/free.


Well, hello there! It’s great to have you here for another episode of the FitNest Mama Podcast. In this episode today, I am discussing 10 Reasons To Include Postnatal Rehab In Your After Birth Plan. So if you’re even thinking oh what is postnatal rehab then stick around because we will dive into what it is and why all women need it.

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Before we do dive in though I am super excited because at the time that this episode is released, we have just finished up a free three day live, postnatal workshop. It they these workshops are always fun, they’re interactive, and they leave you feeling confident and empowered about the steps to take to help you get back into your fitness journey post birth. So, in these three days, we covered pelvic floor readiness, knowing whether or not your body strength and stability were ready post birth and we also discussed a step by step plan to help you know exactly the next steps you need to move forwards in your fitness journey. So, it’s free and it’s live. And even though we just wrapped up one session, just head to the link fitness mama.com forward slash free and put yourself on the waitlist for the next session. I usually hold them every few months. So, head to the link in the bio. And that will take you to the waitlist so that you’ll be the first to find out when the next live postnatal workshop is on again. Alright, let’s dive into this episode.

Postnatal rehab. So why do we even need postnatal rehab? When we think of rehab, we often think of rehab after a sports injury or rehab if you might have had a father or grandfather or relative or someone you know who’s had a hip replacement, and they might need rehab afterwards. Or perhaps you’ve heard of rehab after an addiction. So, let’s break this down. If you’re a pro footballer, let’s say you’ve had a knee injury, and you need to have surgery. So, let’s say hypothetically you’re you’ve had an ACL injury, and you’ve had to have knee a knee reconstruction. So, it’s generally given that there’ll be a period of rehab before getting back into football. So, this generally includes rest. So, after you’ve had your surgery, there’ll be a period of rest and recovery, and then graduated return to exercise. You would never expect a pro footballer to just get back into it all after they’ve had surgery without any preparation. Whereas women might have a six-week doctor’s check. And then generally there’s no guidance whatsoever to helping women recover physically from what has been one of the biggest events of body could go through.

I remember my six-week postnatal check. Her doctor didn’t really assess me at all. I can’t remember that I was very brief assessment. And I do remember his exact words. He said, “Okay, well, I see you from six months onwards when you can get pregnant again. And you know, if you choose to have another baby,” I remember thinking, oh my gosh, I feel as weak as a kitten. My body feels different to it to the way it’s ever felt before, like, and you’re talking about having another baby? And that was it. Like I he did the check-up. Like it’s fantastic doctor but did the check-up and there was no support. And this is just this is the way it is in Australia. Some countries now. All women who’ve had a baby do have access to a pelvic floor assessment at least. This isn’t the case in Australia as yet. Hopefully things change.

So anyway, postnatal rehab, it needs to be a thing. I’m on a mission to make it something that every woman has access to if they wish, after having a baby. All women need a period of rest, recovery and a graduated returned to exercise. So, postnatal rehab is it’s something that all women need after giving birth. No matter if you want to get back into running marathons, or perhaps you want to just be able to walk confidently with your friends, go for a walk with your friends, run around with the kids at the park, like everyone has got different goals and different levels of fitness that they desire. But all women need rehab. Everyone’s postnatal rehab journey will be different, and each woman is unique and has their own set of challenges and goals. But every single woman, if you’re listening today, you all deserve to feel like you’re a strong and confident mum. So, let’s go into 10 ways that postnatal rehab might help to benefit you, after you have given birth.

Okay, number one. Postnatal rehab, specifically pelvic floor rehab will reduce your risk of incontinence and prolapse. So, if you’ve had a baby, whether or not you’ve had a vaginal birth, or a caesarean birth, pelvic floor muscles are generally weakened and generally stretched. And I am a huge believer that prevention is better than cure. So, if you can get on the front foot and get your pelvic floor muscles working optimally, the goal here is to help reduce your risk of incontinence. So that’s the linking of urine, feces or wind, involuntarily, I should say, and prolapse, so you might notice prolapse being a vaginal bulge, lump, pelvic heaviness, that dragging sensation, those sorts of symptoms.

Okay. The second reason postnatal rehab should be included, it can help to reduce your risk of back pain. There’s been research to show that improving your strength, improving that abdominal strength and control can help to reduce risk of back pain. Or if you have got back pain, it can help you to manage it. So, we’re specifically talking about the core muscles here, deeper abdominal muscles, but also globally, too, we know that all four elements of the core have stretched with pregnancy. But if we think about your core being a cylinder, around your torso, the bottom of that cylinder, that’s your pelvic floor, that’s all been stretched and pushed out of whack with pregnancy. And if you’ve had a vaginal birth, it’s been stretched as well, the front of the call your abdominal muscles, they’ve obviously been stretched to make way for your growing belly, the top of you core your diaphragm, that’s the big breathing muscle. And that’s all been pushed out of whack with the baby sitting in there. And then you’re the back of your core where all your back muscles and the ligaments and soft tissues are, generally with the hormonal changes that’s been altered too. So, all four elements of your core are compromised with pregnancy, and potentially weakened. So, I’m a huge advocate for helping to restore your core and your pelvic floor to help reduce your risk of back pain and risk of injuries.

So, number three, be able to run around with kids with confidence. So, the number of times I’ve had women come and see me in the clinic, or women that have joined FitNest Mama because, I’ve set up, I don’t feel confident when I run. I feel I can changly bag of bones or yeah, I want to be able to do a fun run coming up or I want to run around with the kids. So, there’s so many reasons why we want to be able to run it’s not necessarily to run marathons, but just have fun with the kids and feel confident doing so. So, feel confident that you’re not going to leak. Feel confident that you’re not going to hurt yourself or injure yourself.

Okay, number four, reduce risk of injury of the return to exercise. So, commonly, I do see women at about the 10-month postnatal mark. So, they’ve gone through the whole first 10 months of postpartum, feeling good, no injuries, no aches, and pains. And then it’s once they return to exercise; their body starts to fall apart. So, the idea here is if we can rehab you appropriately and slowly and steadily it will help to reduce that risk of injury once you’ve returned to exercise.

Number five, bolster up your body’s strength before future pregnancies. So, as I’ve just talked about pregnancy, your body does take a hit. Like that’s just what happens and there’s generally a period before you might choose to become pregnant again, or you might start trying for a second pregnancy. And I’m a huge believer that if we can bolster our body up in between pregnancies, it can really help with the outcome of pregnancy. This is also important if you’ve had pelvic girdle pain. And you’ve perhaps not been able to do as much during your first pregnancy perhaps walking is really hurting. I believe I’m going to have to track down this research and feel free to touch base with me if you know this, this link to this article. But I believe that if we can bolster up body up in between pregnancies, it helps to reduce your risk of pelvic girdle pain a second time so if you’ve already had pelvic girdle pain, postnatal rehab is thought to reduce your risk of it occurring again. So that is super important.

Number six, bolster up your body’s strength before the onset of menopause. Now, I know that for some of you, menopause might seem like an eternity away. But there’s two stages in a woman’s life, we are more susceptible to pelvic health issues. There’s generally a spike of pelvic floor issues during pregnancy and postpartum. And then it plateaus out. And then there’s a spike of issues again, around pre and post menopause. So, there are two periods in our life where women are more prone to pelvic health issues. So, it’s a beautiful period that decade, 5-10-15 years, whatever it is for you. It’s amazing to try to help your body recover as much as possible before you hit menopause. And I’ve had so many women saying to me in the clinic, and they say, “Oh, Catherine, I wish I had done all this after I’ve had my babies. So they’re now 55 years old, or whatever it might be.” Countless women if I’d had $1 every time I’d heard someone say that to me, where they say I wish I had done this sooner. I wish I’d focus on my body more after my babies and have hadn’t waited until menopause that hit.

Okay, number seven, postnatal rehab, reason to include it is to help improve your confidence and mental health. Postnatal rehab isn’t just about getting your pre baby body back or losing the weight and all those factors often a lot of people talk about. For me, it’s about improving confidence, feeling good again, on the inside that mental health is a huge correlation between mental health and physical health. And we know that improving our physical outcomes post birth can really help with our mental health. So super important, I should have put that number one, I reckon.

Alright, number eight, and these aren’t in any particular order. This is just all written out. But number eight, okay, this is a good one offset aches and pains from breastfeeding and mum duties. So, once we’ve had our baby, we might be spending hours breastfeeding or picking up toddlers, it’s quite easy to get aches and pains. And this is a reason I created a whole hub of workouts inside FitNest Mama, with stretches and exercises to help support you if you’ve got back pain from free feeding or wrist pain, or, like there’s so many aches and pains that might develop and I do believe having a nice little suite of exercises to help your body restore and help your body when it’s depleted from all the holding in the lifting and the carrying. It can do world of good, and this doesn’t need to be anything out of this world. It could be five minutes of beautiful stretches in the back garden it’s the key is knowing what to do, how to help your body in a stage that you’re at. So, this is what fitness Mama is all about.

Anyway, number nine let’s move on return to running successfully. So, all too often I do see women that clinic who’ve tried to return to running and it hasn’t gone according to plan whether or not that’s aches or pains or pelvic health issues generally. So, I’m a huge advocate for prevention rather than to ah so prehab, rehab as well. So doing that step-by-step plan and if you don’t know FitNest Mama does have a 12 week return to running programs specifically for this reason is to help women gradually, carefully, sustainably, and successfully get back into running.

Okay, the 10th reason to include postnatal rehab is a sort of mentioned this but it’s to feel good inside out. So yes, there’s secondary benefits but ultimately, we want to feel good, we want to feel good and confident in our body. We want that mental all those mental health benefits. We want to feel good, inside out.

So, there you go, ladies 10 reasons to include postnatal rehab into your after-birth plan. So, I’d love to know for you, what was your biggest take home message? What are you going to do to help your body recover after having a baby? So that’s it ladies. Don’t forget to come and put your name down on the waitlist if you’d like to join our next free three-day workshop or if you just want to jump write in and actually gain access to all the information inside FitNest Mama, there is a free five-day trial. So, head to fitnestmama.com for all the information.

That’s it ladies have a lovely day. And I look forward to you joining me next week for another episode of the FitNest Mama Podcast.

Thanks so much for listening to the FitNest Mama Podcast. Brought to you by my free pregnancy mini pelvic floor and core masterclass which you will find at fitnestmama.com/free. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. And come and say hi, DM me on Instagram. I would love to hear from you. It said FitNest Mama. Until next time. Remember, a healthy pregnancy, confident birth and strong after birth recovery is something that you deserve. Remember, our disclaimer, materials and contents in this podcast are intended as general information only and shouldn’t substitute medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. I’ll see you soon!

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