Throughout pregnancy as well as your postpartum journey, there are a few “cardinal symptoms” or things to look out for as you exercise as well as live your life day to day. If any of these things are noted, it is advised that the current exercise, intensity or scale is not appropriate for you at that specific time. Ideally, every pregnant and postpartum woman gets to know these symptoms to better help them make the best decisions for their body.
When we discuss pain, this is pain anywhere in your body. We specifically want to point out pelvic pain which includes pubic symphysis pain, SI joint back, low back pain, hip pain or pain in your perineum. Pain is not something to push past or ignore. This is considered a warning light that something is off in the system.
Involuntary loss of urine, feces or gas is not something that comes standard with pregnancy and in your early days postpartum. This is a sign of overload to our pelvic floors and absolutely needs to be a limiter of exercise during this season. Leaking can be due to many reasons. It is good to note when this occurs and should absolutely be something you follow up with about.
If a sense of heaviness is noted in your pelvic floor or lower abdomen, it is advised that your current exercise selection is no longer appropriate. This can be also described as feeling a bulge or the sensation a tampon is falling out. In c-section moms, then can manifest itself in pressure around your incision as well as increased swelling. If pressure is felt, stop what you are doing and if you can, sit or lay back with your feet elevated.
It is advised to monitor your belly occasionally with abdominal heavy exercises or overhead exercise to check for coning. Your belly should remain the same during exercise. If you notice a doming out, that cannot be controlled with a changing up of your breath strategy, this exercise is not appropriate. Coning can occur during random things. It is advised to always check in with that belly to get a gauge of how your abdominals are doing – especially as you add in new movements or exercises.
One of the best ways to protect our tissue throughout this journey is managing pressure in our abdomen. With a growing baby and uterus, our system becomes taxed with increased pressure on its own. In the postpartum period, breath holding can cause undue stress on tissues that are vulnerable and highly prone to injury. Chronic breath holding with exercise only adds to this overload, causing undue stress. No exercise (or movement in your daily life) should require breath holding to complete.
If you find yourself dealing with any of these, we highly advise you reaching out to find some guidance on the issue! This systems are little windows into how your body is functioning. Getting an evaluation and a plan to address these things will not only allow you to be able to do the things you want to do now, but set you up for less pain and symptoms in the future!