Exercise and Your Postnatal Pelvis

womens-health-organisation-network-tasmania-when-2019

The pelvic skeleton is actually made up of several bones. It is formed by the sacrum and the coccyx at the back and a pair of hip bones on the sides consisting of 3 sections each: the ilium, ischium and pubis. The hip bones and the sacrum at the back are joined together on each side by a fairly immobile joint known as the sacroiliac joint. At the front, your 2 hip bones join together at the pubic symphysis, which is made up of cartilage and ligaments.   

During pregnancy these joints and ligaments (along with all the others in your body!) have more mobility due to associated hormonal changes. This is to enable the pelvis to be more flexible, so as to allow the baby to descend through the birth canal. After giving birth, your pelvis will take some time to regain its original strength and stability. Even if you have had a cesarean section your body will have experienced the same hormonal influences during pregnancy with the same changes to your pelvis, to accommodate the growing baby and uterus. 

When this happens it may cause back or pelvic pain, during or after pregnancy, but not always.  Regardless of whether you experience pain or not, appropriate exercise can be of great benefit to strengthen and stabilise your pelvis, particularly before returning to high impact exercise. 

It is a good idea to seek out a fitness professional who has some experience in postnatal rehabilitation. If you are having specific issues with pelvic pain or pelvic weakness, find a health or allied health professional who specialises in this area and seek advice first before commencing any exercise program.


References

Exercise and the postnatal pelvis

1) Camberon, L., Marsden, J., Watkins, K. and Freeman J. (2018). Management of Antenatal Pelvic Girdle Pain Study (MAPS): A Double Blinded, Randomised Trial Evaluating the Effectiveness of Two Pelvic Orthoses. University of plymouth

Marco van der Heide