31 October 2014

Postnatal rehabilitation

By Laura Tilson BA (Hons) M.Ost DPO
Registered and Paediatric Osteopath at The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy

Here are my top tips for rehabilitation after having a baby:

  1. Avoid strenuous exercise for the first 6 weeks: you may have bruised and inflamed tissues that need to heal.
  2. Don't compare yourself to others: your pregnancy and birth will leave a unique footprint on you and your body. If something doesn't feel right, chances are it isn't. If something hurts, sit back and attempt the exercise again when you are stronger in a week or two.
  3. Walking is great: the movement of walking mobilises your pelvis, hips and lumbar spine to help with healing. Try doing pelvic floor exercises and avoid leaning over your buggy as you walk.
  4. Pelvic stability is key: all exercise should be conducted with a strong and stable pelvis and lumbar spine. This should be the first thing you address.
  5. Have faith in your body's ability to heal and strengthen.
  6. Look after your pelvic floor: especially when introducing running. If you have any incontinence issues or feel your pelvic floor isn't quite right do pelvic floor exercises and tell your GP.
  7. Give yourself time: it can take a year for your pregnancy hormones to settle and ligaments to tighten again. Give yourself a target of a year to get back to your old self physically.
  8. Consult experts: look for people who are specifically trained in post-natal care. Before you exercise talk to them about any concerns and make sure they check for abdominal separation (rectus diastasis).


For appointments with Laura at The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy, call 020 8789 3881 or email us as info@putneyclinic.co.uk.

Postnatal fitness

By Laura Tilson BA (Hons) M.Ost DPO
Registered and Paediatric Osteopath at The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy

I have never felt as weak and physically vulnerable as I did after having my baby 5 months ago. It was immediately obvious the minute I tried to stand up after the labour and it was something I feel I was totally unprepared for. It is only in hindsight that I can see how frightened I might have been had I had a minute to think about myself and my body – rather than my baby and where his next feed was coming from. I couldn't sit up or turn in bed without using my arms, I waddled rather than walked for at least a week. My first few trips to the supermarket were a push. My back ached over the site of my epidural. I was shocked at how my muscles, despite exercising throughout my pregnancy, had weakened.

I know from my osteopathy training that during pregnancy ligaments stretch, muscles atrophy, fat is deposited and breasts grow. I also know that the occasional afternoon nap and eating cake feature more and more frequently during maternity leave.  All great for your growing baby and the birth, but a bit of a shock when you come out the other side.

Fast forward a few weeks (after my 6-week check) and I started a postnatal pilates and yoga class. A simple leg lift was impossible. Even getting up and down off the floor was difficult and, as a result, a little bit embarrassing. In yoga we focused on isolating the different muscles which make up the pelvic floor and I felt like I re-introduced my brain to my abdominal muscles. It felt like I had a long journey ahead of me but the results were quicker than I had expected. Even by week two I could lift my leg off the floor.

It is so important to start from the beginning and retrain the muscles that have stretched and worked so hard for you during your pregnancy. The "core" is a complicated network of muscles which support your spine. It is profoundly affected during pregnancy, as well as through both vaginal and caesarian births, and should be the first thing you rehabilitate. By doing so, you re-establish stability in the body and so avoid injury when you go back to normal exercise regimes.

Fast forward once more 5 months and I have put my name down for a triathlon sprint (read "marathon"). A 750 metre swim, 21km bike ride topped off with a 5km run. I finally feel that I am out of the rehabilitation phase and back to getting a base line fitness and attempting everything in the exercise classes I go to.


For appointments with Laura at The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy, call 020 8789 3881 or send an email to info@putneyclinic.co.uk.

The benefits of postnatal osteopathy

By Laura Tilson BA (Hons) M.Ost DPO
Registered and Paediatric Osteopath at The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy

As an osteopath I spend the majority of my time showing people how osteopathy can benefit them. But trying to persuade a busy mum that she should put herself first for half an hour a day to sort out her bad back or that dodgy shoulder will be my mantra for the rest of my career.

Mums are renowned for putting others first and bravely soldiering on – because they are mums and that's just what they do.  And now – as mother to a four month old little boy - I can see why.  My days blur into one – each a haze of coffee, marching around parks and attempts at housework, never mind trying to fit in brushing my hair or getting a little admin done.

So perhaps I am biased, but over the last few months I have seen for myself how osteopathy has helped me and my little boy. I have been for four treatments since having him. Once a month, I have carved out the time and made it a priority because I'm set on practicing what I preach. But the results speak for themselves.

The osteopath I saw sorted out the pain in my back where I had had an epidural by finding restricted joints in my back and tight muscles and getting them moving again. With massage and pressure over my upper back she helped to release aches from hours of bending over during feeds. With the gentlest touch and movement she helped to encourage my baby to look comfortably to the left (he only looked to the right after a fairly traumatic ventouse delivery).

So perhaps I am biased but I cannot rave about it enough. This, along with a slow and steady commitment to getting fit again has been my rehabilitation back to my old self and I could not be more grateful.


For appointments with Laura at The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy, call  020 8789 3881 or send an email to info@putneyclinic.co.uk.

15 October 2014

True knowledge; Yoga Makaranda

" That (true knowledge) which cannot be realized, merely by reading and studying, becomes real only through application and practice of yoga"

Yoga Makaranda-The Nectar of Yoga 

14 October 2014

The source of Happiness. -Dalai Lama

The greater the level of calmness of our mind, the greater our peace of mind, the greater our ability to enjoy a happy and joyful life.

The art of happiness: A handbook for living.