Should I wear postnatal recovery shorts to help my muscles recover from pregnancy and childbirth?
There are many times when I am working with pregnant clients, that they ask me the question, “Should I buy some recovery shorts to assist in my recovery after my baby arrives?”. This is one of the few times that I cannot delve into my personal experience to provide an informed answer. Today I had a wonderful informative meeting with Krysten from SRC Health, and now I feel like I am equipped to answer this frequent question.
Your body can have a very unique feeling after the birth of a baby. The soft and spongy tummy, the weak and sore perineum, and the mobile pelvis, all combine to make moving around in bed and hospital room a challenging task. And now there is a tiny person who depends on you nearly every minute of the day and often makes you get out of bed frequently. We see a lot of women in our maternity ward, and feel our provision of modalities and advice, are essential to their recovery. But it takes time for muscles and ligaments to regain their strength and shorten in length before they can provide optimum support again.
This is where the idea of recovery shorts or leggings seems appropriate. They provide back, abdominal and perineal support, areas that will benefit from compression in the postnatal period. But do they stop your muscles recovering properly? Is it a cheat’s way of gaining stability that could actually delay your recovery?
SRC Health, explain that the gentle, graduated medical grade compression rating on their recovery wear supports and facilitates correct activation of the muscles as they are held in a better anatomical position. This helps the muscles to recover and regain strength faster. Their garments are designed with patented anatomical support panels to deliver targeted compression areas ideal for treating many conditions that are common during and after pregnancy.
Another innovative point is the True Cross Compression means that each layer of fabric is cut on a different plane so that during activity, the compression is consistent in all positions. Even after washing and wearing, the fabric should consistently return to its original shape.
When should I buy them, and when can I start wearing them?
SRC recommends being measured and fitted at 36 weeks gestation. Your pelvis will be measured and then a size will be recommended. This means you are prepared and do not need to make a family trip after your bub is in the world (this is more of a challenge than you realise sometimes).
Most women will start wearing the recovery shorts or leggings by about day 6. Women who have had a vaginal delivery, often begin earlier than this, whereas women who have had a caesarean section may wait an extra few days for their abdominal wound to settle. It is important to pull the waist band out and then tightly upwards and over your tummy so it can provide the correct support to your perineum and abdomen. Most women feel instant relief, others will notice the support with time. Others may not feel as much. If it is uncomfortable, check you have put them on correctly and if problems persist, remove and seek advice. SRC Health offers a moneyback guarantee if you are not satisfied when you purchase from their website.
Where to buy?
The SRC Health website has their stockists listed. It can be useful to try them, before you buy them.
How do I get the correct size?
Clear instructions are provided online, or if you go to a stockist listed on the above website link, they will take your measurements for you.
Are the SRC recovery wear worth the money?
So, with all the costs accrued during pregnancy, birth and stocking up for baby, the big question is, are they worth it? I would suggest discussing this with your physiotherapist who will consider your antenatal symptoms, your current concerns and your postnatal goals. An easy to wear shorts or legging that allows you move around more easily, facilitating care of baby and that holds your muscles in a better position for recovery, would suggest to me that they could be worth trying.
Some women can claim a rebate from their private health insurance company.
What else will help my postnatal recovery?
Please remember, that though the recovery shorts assist in muscle recovery, performing regular, correct pelvic floor exercises, combined with postnatally appropriate abdominal strengthening exercises will be the most effective way of improving your core stability and strength.
Check out The Mummy Files Program for postnatal recovery advice at www.perthwomensphysio.online. Or book in with your local women’s health physiotherapist for further postnatal exercise advice.
What other products do SRC Health have?
They have a pregnancy range, and sports compression range. I’m wondering if their sports compression range will give me that added bonus when I go running…. I need every bonus possible to cope with running after 4 children. I wonder if hidden in the SRC sports wear box, there might be a few extra hours of kid free time too?