After giving birth, when can you start running again? To walk? To ride a bike? Are there activities to avoid or, on the contrary, others that must absolutely be included?
These are the questions that Sarah Baribeau, kinesiologist, physiotherapist and founder of Bougeotte and Placotine, will respond in this podcast.
Daniel: Tell us about Bougeotte and Placotine?
Sarah: Bougeotte and Placotine, they are fitness centers in which we offer group classes designed for pregnant women and new mothers. We have three centers in the Quebec City area and 2 franchises, one in Montreal and one in Sherbrooke.
With a master's degree in perinatal care in hand, my goal was to offer courses according to the phases of pregnancy and rehabilitation in the postnatal period. Our centers thus offer very diverse semi-private lessons (6 to 8 people) in physical spaces, designed to accommodate families.
Daniel: How do you juggle with the fact that your target clientele is transient, that is to say women in the postnatal period?
Sarah: We are very involved with health professionals: presentations in medical clinics, training with gynecologists, etc. We are also in close collaboration with perineal physiotherapists, which means that we are very often referred. All this brings a very good turnover in our clientele.
Daniel: With the current pandemic, your centers are currently closed but you are preparing their reopening if I'm not mistaken?
Sarah: Absolutely! We started outdoor classes again in February while our centers will reopen at the beginning of April. Otherwise, we still have the option of virtual lessons currently running on our website.
Daniel: Let's talk a little about perinatal care. What are the steps to follow for getting back in shape after childbirth?
Sarah: We must first know that there is no universal rule except for the word progression! Every woman has a different level of fitness before pregnancy, a different level of fitness during pregnancy, childbirth is also unique, and finally, the baby that follows is unique. The analysis of all this must be done and tint the fitness.
Thus, a woman who, for example, has been running throughout her pregnancy and who has had a good delivery, will be able to recover more quickly. Despite everything, no woman escapes pregnancy hormones which will greatly impact the stability of the pelvis and the deep muscles that support the organs.
I often use the analogy of a strain… it's like your pelvic floor and abs are sprained. Depending on the grade, you can train on it but you have to be careful and listen.
As a general rule, complete rest for 10 days after childbirth is recommended. You should know that the post-natal rest period is necessary since, in addition to childbirth which is very demanding, the muscles are very loose and too stretched. On the other hand, you can perform light exercises such as abdominal breathing, contracting / relaxing the pelvic floor, moving the diaphragm, etc.
After the 10 days, we must see what the future physical goals are, but one thing is certain, we must initiate the strengthening of the deep muscles by creating stress but while respecting a progression.
The 6 to 8 weeks following childbirth is a period of tissue healing and therefore a critical period since there is a certain inflammatory system that has been created. The right amount of effort is essential.
We must then aim to eliminate all symptoms related to pregnancy and childbirth in the first 3 months. Indeed, if the symptoms are still present after this period and the mother has done nothing to counter it, she has a 9 out of 10 chance of keeping pelvic floor problems within 5 years!
From 3 months, there are a host of factors that ultimately come into play. Some girls start running again after 6 weeks! On the other hand, we must keep in mind that as long as the woman does not restart her normal menstrual cycle, she still has pregnancy hormones which bring a hormonal imbalance, therefore, a reduced capacity for tissue healing. That being said, it is indeed a good enough time to start getting back into shape by following a progression.
Daniel: Do you suggest making an appointment with a physiotherapist or doctor before starting to work out again?
Sarah: the best thing is to go see a perineal physiotherapist in the post-natal period, that is to say well before childbirth. The physio can sometimes detect small points to work that can make a big difference during childbirth and after it.
Subsequently, 6 to 8 weeks after childbirth, a visit to the perineal physiotherapist is also recommended. The advice of a professional is very reassuring for the mother who is starting her fitness.
Meeting or not, the feelings and perceptions of the mother are very important when she starts moving again. There is a lot of trial and error but maintaining a respectable progression the risks are low.
Daniel: Knowing that pregnancy and the perinatal period are trying and that health professionals are often colored by their own experience, I imagine that it must be a big challenge to manage your clientele with detachment?
Sarah: in fact, the majority of kinesiologists at Bougeotte and Placotine are not mothers. On the other hand, we have seen a huge amount of mother profiles so I think that helps us to manage everything well and to supervise our clients in an adequate way.
You should also know that the role of a kinesiologist is support and not support. It is the mothers who hold the reins of their rehabilitation and we are there to guide them in the process. Experience makes it possible to have agility with clients.
Daniel: Beyond the reopening of your centers, what are your future projects?
Sarah: we would like to open new Bougeotte and Placotine and position ourselves more in terms of our expertise. Our primary goal remains the same: to get as many mothers moving as possible, regardless of their location. We are currently attacking franchises and we would very much like to leave the province of Quebec.