If the postnatal woman has any of the below, they should see their Obstetrician, Midwife or GP before starting to increase their physical activity:
Any symptoms of new excessive shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations, dizziness, fainting/near fainting (syncope) both on exertion or at rest will require immediate and urgent medical assessment.
Any symptoms of fever, feeling generally unwell, unexplained abdominal pain, worsening and persistent headache, change in vision, painful/red/swollen calf will also require immediate or urgent medical assessment and management.
Postnatal women who have, or have not had complicated deliveries, increasing pain around the perineum/stitches, increased redness/offensive discharge or increased vaginal bleeding – will require urgent investigation and should be a contraindication to the commencement of exercise or increased physical activity.
If the new mum you are speaking to has had a serious or uncontrolled medical condition that complicated her pregnancy, e.g. cardiovascular, respiratory, autoimmune, thyroid, kidney problems, she will need a medical review before progressing to physical activities that are more intense than activities of daily living.
If a postnatal woman has suffered a 3rd or 4th degree tear; had a complicated emergency delivery or has suffered significant mental health symptoms, it is recommended that she is screened fully before returning to more progressive, intense physical activities.
Please click here to open the flowchart and check the ‘red flag’ section underneath it for symptoms that warrant an initial medical review by a Doctor and those that warrant urgent medical advice.