New program helps new moms regain core muscle strength after having a baby

Physiotherapists at the Grey Nuns and Misericordia Community Hospitals in Edmonton are offering mothers a new education and exercise program aimed at reducing or preventing long-term health problems that can develop after having a baby.

Pregnancy stretches and weakens a woman’s deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles decreasing their function, says Amy Wilcox Gelhorn, Program Coordinator for the Post Partum Health for Moms Program at the Misericordia Community Hospital. In order to retain mobility, the body compensates for the changes by placing additional stress on muscles in the low back, pelvis and hips.

The Post Partum Health for Moms Program is working to ensure that new moms retain their muscles and regain control in the core of their body so they won’t become at risk for chronic low back and pelvic pain, prolapse of the uterus and bladder incontinence.

Grey Nuns Physiotherapist and Post Partum Health Instructor Heidi Cunningham says, “The program teaches women about the changes that occur in the body during pregnancy and guides them through a number of simple effective exercises to strengthen their weakened muscles.”

Yvonne Zarowny, also a Physiotherapist at the Grey Nuns and class instructor adds, “The small class sizes allow for individualized attention from the physiotherapists to ensure the exercises are done correctly. Participants new to exercising will enjoy the supportive atmosphere and the opportunity to progress at their own pace.”

The classes are designed to improve the physical health of new moms. It is a great way for new moms to get active. At the completion of the program, women will have the necessary skills and knowledge to continue their exercise sessions at home or at an exercise facility of their choice.

Program participant, Katrina Forsey says she definitely notices a difference in how she feels. “I can really tell the muscles are working. I feel more stable and balanced. I notice it particularly with my every-day activities from reaching for something over my head to bending over to pick up my son.”

New moms are encouraged to wait for an eight-week period after they have given birth in order to allow their body time to heal before they begin classes.

Post Partum Health for Moms is an eight-week program offered through the department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital and Misericordia Community Hospital.

There is a $60.00 fee for the program that includes all instructional material, exercise handouts and parking passes.Participants are welcome to attend with their newborns.

For more information or to register, call: Post Partum Health for Moms Grey Nuns Community Hospital: (780) 450-7121 Misericordia Community Hospital: (780) 930-5757.