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  • Writer's pictureLou

Is the 6 week check enough?

Updated: Jan 11

The short answer is no, and here’s why…

In Australia, the 6-week postpartum check-up a mother receives is usually only 25-35 minutes long and comes in varying degrees. In this appointment, they are

meant to assess everything from wound healing, uterus contraction, postpartum bleeding, mental health, family planning, mother and baby interaction, lactation, baby’s growth, mother’s physical health, vaccinations and many other things. That’s a hellova check list to squeeze into such a short amount of time!

Unfortunately, more often than not, a woman is simply asked if she feels she has healed ok rather than a comprehensive internal and external check given. It is not the practitioner’s fault, they feel the pressure of the system and unless symptoms are presented, a mother is given the all clear to return to their pre-baby activities. Whereas many women can present asymptomatic, especially in the early postpartum stage and returning to even gentle exercise such as Pilates can often lead to complications later down the line.

Somewhere along the line, the fitness industry has also adopted the “6-week check” as a guideline for women returning to exercise after childbirth and in turn are doing women a huge disservice. Without a comprehensive check of what is going on internally, as well as externally it can be very difficult to gauge if a woman is actually ready to return to exercise.

Here at Mums: Redefined, we strongly advise you work with a Women’s Health Physio before returning to exercise. This goes for all types of birth. A common misconception is a C-section birth is less traumatic. Whereas in reality, a cesarean is major surgery that cuts through 6 layers to deliver the baby. This, coupled with the fact that the pelvic floor has had the extra pressure of carrying a baby for 9 months, can result in issues later down the line. With this in mind, we don’t advocate a C section mother to start exercise until at least 12 weeks, unless they have received clearance from their Women’s Health Physio.

That is not to say a vaginal birth is easier to recover from, and again, only your women’s health physio can fully clear you for exercise. For example, when forceps are used, this can also have a huge impact on the recovery time of a woman or if this is baby number 2 and what the first delivery looked like also has an impact.

As a general rule of thumb, a vaginal birth requires 6 weeks recovery and a C section birth requires 12 weeks recovery.

But again, these are guidelines and every woman heals differently. A Women’s Health Physio will be able to work with you and your goals more sufficiently and give you a more accurate timeline based on your body.

Use the following link to find your local Women’s Health Physio 👉

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