#IWishIKnew – Are moms missing out on key postnatal recovery information and how can you better prepare for your post childbirth health?
As a mother there may be many things you look back on regarding your postnatal experience with thoughts of : “hmmm, I wish I knew that” or “If only someone had explained this to me earlier”.
If this is you, you are most definitely not alone. In fact, you make up part of a majority of women who claim they went into their postnatal recovery chronically unaware of what was around the corner, what was considered ‘normal’ and perhaps most importantly how they could have better prepared their bodies to reduce the onset of symptoms. From urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, hernia’s and abdominal separation through to postnatal depression, there are so many things moms simply ‘wish they knew’ about the realities of postpartum health and how to better manage their experience.
MUTU System, who specialise in clinically trialled digital pregnancy and postpartum exercise and support modules, studied 3,349 moms in the USA and UK which revealed an urgent need to address the lack of post-birth recovery preparation during pregnancy, and the impact this has on mental and physical wellbeing. #IWishIKnew calls for pregnant women and brand-new mums to get the information and support they need at the right time, to ensure they are fully equipped to have a significantly improved chance of better recovery, removing the feelings of regret for women, who quite simply lament the fact they felt blindsided by their pregnancy preparation in hindsight.
Key data from survey found that 91% of women felt they were not given enough advice during pregnancy about how to prepare for their post-birth recovery, with 89.5% claiming they didn’t have a plan in place at all. A staggering 76.1% of mothers reported a direct impact to their mental health as a result of not being better informed about their postnatal recovery during pregnancy.
This lack of awareness really comes down to a gap in the care pathway, rather than any outstanding inadequacies with the support already given to mothers by midwives. Though they do an amazing job, they focus predominantly on ensuring the safety of the mother and baby during childbirth and immediately afterwards, and then on the baby’s development, rather than preparation for the long-term recovery which so many women seem to be unaware of.
Nobody is currently fulfilling the role of longer-term advisory and support within the care system, meaning women are often left alone to recover without knowledge of what has happened to their body/ how long it will be this way which is scary for them.
We need to empower women with the knowledge that they can prepare for their post birth recovery from the minute they become pregnant, through pregnancy exercises and becoming aware of the platforms advocated and recommended by clinicians as a solution to fill the gap in pregnancy preparation, empower women to feel in control of their recovery period as well as keep the core and pelvic floor supple and strong during pregnancy.
What is the best way to prepare during pregnancy?
1.Exercise and connect to your body
Build your core. Staying connected to your deep core muscles as well as your pelvic floor is crucial to your body’s health during and after pregnancy and can significantly improve your recovery in your 4th trimester.
2.Understand that there is no one right way to feel after giving birth
Talk to others who are going through the same as you about how you are feeling. Keep talking and surround yourself with support. Our MUTU community of pregnant and postpartum mamas is on hand to surround you with the support you need.
If you find you are struggling with your mental health and wellbeing, seek support and keep talking. Having awareness through pregnancy and postpartum is vital.
4.Pre and postnatal mental health support
5.Prevent painful sex after having your baby
During pregnancy, master the release phase of your pelvic floor exercises. A too-tight (hypertonic) pelvic floor post-birth can cause pain during sex. Getting yourself familiar with engaging and, equally important, releasing those muscles will really help and can significantly improve your recovery.
Breastfeeding? Amazing! Pumping + bottle feeding? Amazing! Formula feeding? Amazing! A combination of those? You go mama!
Fed is best. Period. There is NO shame and should be no judgement in how you choose to feed your baby. Everyone has circumstances inside and outside of their own control that can impact this choice. It’s nobody’s business but yours.
While annoying and painful they are often temporary and heal within the first few weeks postpartum. During pregnancy and after, avoid straining when going to the bathroom. Use a low stool or squatty potty to rise your feet into an optimal position.
8.Preventing and avoiding incontinence
Learn how to correctly contract and release your pelvic floor muscles and how to integrate that into your daily movements and exercise. MUTU shows you how and the sooner you start to apply it, the better. Doing this work during pregnancy will help improve your recovery.
9.Get the low down on POP (Pelvic Organ Prolapse)!
Knowing about prolapse and what you can do to support your pelvic floor throughout pregnancy will help you understand many of the factors that contribute to prolapse and can help lessen the chances of developing one, or increase your recovery time.
10.Know which core exercises you can do to prevent Diastasis Recti postpartum
Don’t skip core exercises during pregnancy! No, you won’t be doing traditional crunches or 100s of reps, but there are plenty of ways to focus on core strengthening and connection during your prenatal period to really improve your postnatal recovery.
11.Prepare to have patience in healing post-birth
Connect with the right muscles during pregnancy so your healing can be quicker and more effective post-birth. Above all, ditch the societal pressures of ‘snapping back’ or ‘getting your body back’… since it didn’t actually go anywhere!
Download the ‘10 THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN DURING PREGNANCY’ now to get your MUTU System go-to postpartum recovery plan guide to help you prepare for your recovery in the best and most informed way possible.
#IWishIKnew is a campaign by mothers to raise awareness for mothers-to-be. To get involved, share a post on the things you wish you had known during pregnancy about your postpartum recovery to social media using #IWishIKnew with a tag to @MUTUSystem. We’re aiming to inform as many pregnant women as possible about how they can prepare now.
For more information, visit www.mutusystem.com
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