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Can I work out before my GP 6 week check?

Updated: May 21, 2023

YES - but the "type" of workout is very important.


These exercises may not feel like the type of "work out" you are used to pre pregnancy. However, your body has gone through some significant changes throughout pregnancy and beyond so you need to give it some TLC. Post natal recovery is really subjective and everyone recovers at different speeds. If you rush back into exercise before you are ready, you may cause yourself an injury which will just result in longer time without exercise.


So where do we go from here?


#1 - What the heck is the 6 week review anyway?


When you deliver your baby, you and your baby are generally in the hands of a medical professional who will check your health and wellbeing prior to discharge. They will complete a full physical examination of your baby, check you are passing urine and feeding is going smoothly. What occurs within the next 6 weeks is generally a time of healing but complications may happen. Therefore, at 6 weeks your GP and health visitor will review you and baby. They will ask about your general mental wellbeing and also how you have recovered. For example, you may feel heaviness in your vagina or pelvic pain. All these symptoms can be discussed further. Your health visitor will explore how your baby is feeding and assess general health and well being. After the 6 week review, all being well you won't see a health professional (unless requested) until your 1 year review with your health visitor.




#2 - Why do fitness professionals care?


To be blunt, its all about insurance. The 6 week check is unfortunately not as thorough as it should be, leading to confusion from parents who have had a quick 10 minute assessment with a GP and therefore "signed off" to start driving and exercising. Therefore, it is mainly a tick box exercise we have to comply with.


" I felt so confused when I had my 6 week review. They asked about my scar, my mood and said I was all ok. I didn't understand their assessment and whether I was safe to start exercising"

Tip #3 - What factors influence your ability to start exercising?


Pre pregnancy fitness levels


The benefits of exercising throughout pregnancy are plentiful. However, pregnancy comes with a lot of challenges such as morning sickness to joint pain which impedes ladies abilities to workout as they want. If you have been lucky enough to continue to exercise throughout your pregnancy, then returning to exercise will feel much easier. However, taking a long break between exercise and returning post birth will mean a slow and steady pace is required to be safe.


Delivery


If you had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery then you may find returning to exercise much quicker than if you had an emergency C-section or vaginal delivery with intervention. Even if you had a vaginal delivery, you have have had a 3rd degree tear which requires a lot of healing and pelvic strengthening needs to be a priority.


If you had a C-section the abdominal muscles have been through significant surgery and require a lot of healing. However, people who have had an emergency C-section after a long labour may feel they heal slower than those who had an elective C-section.


In a nutshell, it is very subjective and everyone will heal at different speeds and not one person is the same as another.



Pelvic Floor


Regardless of the type of birth your pelvic floor will be compromised from pregnancy and birth. If you feel any vaginal heaviness, incontinence or sensations of a prolapse then your pelvic floor will require a physiotherapist assessment. This is especially important if your pelvic floor does not return back to normal function after 3 months. Unfortunately, in the UK not all women do not get offered a physiotherapist assessment post birth so this is something you feel have to ask your GP to refer for.




Diastasis recti


In simple terms, your abdominals separate from the Linea Alba to accomodate for your growing babe. You can easily check for this post delivery or ask your GP to assess you at your 6 week check. This is really common and nothing to worry about, however if you conduct certain exercises when you have separation of the abdominals you can increase the risk of injury.



Remember... this is your journey.


This is your journey. Listen to your body, and if in doubt play it safe. Mamas and Cubs offer supportive, judgement free environment to workout with your baby.

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