max-kIo5g3F4J70-unsplash

Week 7

It’s OK if you haven’t started doing Kegel exercises yet, but now is a good time to start doing them regularly. Some women prefer to wait until after their checkup, but some form of daily clenching or pelvic floor exercises will pay off. Even if you don’t have issues now, these muscles need to last for the rest of your life. Muscle fibers that are not activated weaken over time, but exercise keeps them strong.

Do your Kegel exercises daily the first three months after childbirth. If you then feel that you have no complications, it’s sufficient to do them a couple of times a week. Should you still have complications after three months of regular pelvic floor exercises, contact a gynecologist for an assessment.

A good way to practice is 8 x 8 x 8; clench 8 seconds as hard as you can, relax 8 seconds (relaxation between clenches is as important as the intensity of the clench) and repeat 8 times. Remember to breathe. Now try to gently tighten the muscles, so gently that you can talk at the same time. To begin, you might be able to hold for 10 to 15 seconds. If you do this regularly, you will soon be able to reach 45 to 60 seconds. Regularly exercising your pelvic floor muscles usually gets results quickly!

The often overlooked peritoneum

The peritoneum is a membrane that forms the lining of the abdominal cavity, including our muscles, keeping them in place. This stretches during pregnancy as the uterus grows since the organs have to move and make room.

Your stomach feels soft when you touch it because the peritoneum has still not shrunk. Do breathing exercises to activate the peritoneum, which will help it to shrink. Try the following: breathe in and let air fill the abdomen so that it rises. In order to activate the peritoneum, hold your breath for a few seconds, and let the abdomen fall inward on the exhale. This creates a tightening that makes it easier for the peritoneum to regain its original strength, or tonus as it’s also called. By combining this type of breathing and gentle squeezing of the abdominal muscles, you can gain better control over abdominal separation.

For women who had a Cesarean delivery

Is the area around the scar swollen after surgery? This is part of the healing process and perfectly normal. Massage using gentle pressure and circular movement around the swollen areas can help the swelling to subside.

A need for me time

A little child has a huge need for closeness and for his or her parents. If you’re going to do something alone for a brief period, plan ahead and remember that it is important that your child is in a setting and with a person you both feel safe with. Start with brief periods, and enjoy the moment.

It’s common to feel worried about leaving your baby, even if it’s for a brief period. But don’t. Your baby is just fine with the other parent or another close adult.

As we’ve said before, all children are different and comfortable in various situations. Thoughts like “I need to be able to do this myself” or “how will a separation from me affect my baby” are also common. You don’t need to do everything yourself and it can even be a good experience for both. You get the chance to do something you like and have a break, while your baby has the chance to bond with another adult.

Source: - Hatice Kahyaoglu Sut. & Petek Balkanli Kaplan. (2016). Effect of pelvic floor muscle exercise on pelvic floor muscle activity and voiding functions during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Neurourol Urodyn.l Mar;35(3):417-22. DOI: 10.1002/nau.22728 - Janson, P.O. & Landgren, B. (red.) (2010). Gynekologi. (1. uppl.) Lund: Studentlitteratur. - Kaplan, A. (red.) (2009). Lärobok för barnmorskor. (3., omarb. uppl.) Lund: Studentlitteratur. - Myles, M.F., Marshall, J.E. & Raynor, M.D. (red.) (2014). Myles textbook for midwives. (16th edition). Edinburgh: Elsevier. - Savage S. J. (2020). A Fourth Trimetser Action Plan for Wellness. The Journal of Perinatal Education. Apr 1;29(2):103-112. DOI: 10.1891/J-PE-D-18-00034