Being pregnant for 9 months and then giving birth is one of the most amazing yet also one of the most difficult (even sometimes traumatic) things the human body can do. For most moms, care after a baby is a single, six-week check-up so you can be asked about your birth control methods and then giving you a thumbs up and a “you’re good to go.” With everything. Running. Lifting. Exercise. Sex.
But the reality is, 99% of the time you aren’t “good to go.” Not even close.
• Your pelvic floor muscles are tense (yes, tight and tense!), potentially irritated and unable to their job. This is why just doing Kegels isn’t always the best idea.
• You might have scar tissue (from a C-section, episiotomy or tear) that is beginning to adhere to the surrounding tissues.
• Your center of gravity just shifted – literally overnight! – putting a lot of strain on your hips, core and low back – and not to mention the strain it was under during the pregnancy changes especially those in the third trimester.
• Your abdominal muscles, which get super stretched and separate during pregnancy, are trying to come back together AND do a ton of new jobs taking care of that little baby.
• You are asking your still-healing body to go through a whole new set of challenges. Carrying the baby, holding to breastfeed, lifting and moving. All with very little sleep and time for recovery.
So, no. A 20-min check-in to make sure you aren’t still bleeding does not mean you’re “good to go.”
This is the entire reason for pelvic floor physical therapy. A specialist who understands what you’re going through. What’s normal and not normal. And can actually work with you, step-by-step, as you recover. Help you build a strong foundation for your core and pelvic floor to get you back to exercise. Back to pain-free intercourse. And ready (if it’s in your plans) for another little one!
What should you be on the lookout for that pelvic floor physical therapy can help with?
Low Back Pain
Almost 80% of new moms experience low back pain following delivery. Your whole center of gravity has changed. Your core has been challenged with the pregnancy. And the muscles of the pelvic floor – which support the low back – are often struggling to do their job as well.
Incontinence, Urinary Urgency/Frequency or other Urinary Issues
About half of new moms struggle with incontinence. This is any involuntary loss of urine, often with sneezing, laughing, stepping onto a curb, lifting, running or exercise.
Contrary to popular opinion this usually isn’t because the pelvic floor muscles are “weak” or “loose.” In fact, they’re often overly tight and irritated. Kegels are often unhelpful (and can be the exact opposite of what we’d want to be doing!).
Urinary urgency/frequency is feeling an urgent need to use the bathroom, even if you don’t really have to go very much. Anything more than 7 times per day is considered ‘urinary frequency.’ This often happens when tight pelvic floor muscles irritate the nerves running through the pelvis, and the brain interprets it as the need to use the bathroom (even if not much comes out!).
This is a separation or widening between the ‘six-pack’ muscles that weakens the core and can often cause a ‘mommy pooch’ occurs in almost half of new moms. You don’t need surgery to repair a diastasis! It’s also not just about doing abdominal exercises or an exercise routine. It’s about discovering why the body isn’t recovering correctly and removing the limitation to allow you to heal!
Pain with intercourse is common after childbirth (no matter how you delivered) and doesn’t usually improve with time. Tight muscles in the pelvic floor are unable to relax to allow for pain-free penetration, sexual pleasure or orgasm. Sexual activity can also make other issues or symptoms worse, but this absolutely isn’t something you have to ‘just endure’ – everyone deserves a return to pleasurable sexual activity.
A prolapse occurs when the pelvic floor is not able to continue supporting the pelvic organs. These can put pressure on the vaginal canal or rectum. This is often accompanied by a feeling of heaviness or pressure. Surgery is certainly not the only option, and the underlying issue (the pelvic floor muscles) need to be addressed for true, lasting relief.
Almost one in five women experience pelvic pain after childbirth. This can be constant or intermittent. It can be set on by certain activities (intercourse, exercise, prolonged sitting) or seem to come on ‘out of the blue.’
Generally this is caused by tight pelvic floor muscles irritating a nerve, which can cause pain anywhere the nerve runs.
The Good News!
The good news is that while all of these issues are common, they are not normal – and not something you just have to live with!
Whether you gave birth six weeks or six years ago, a qualified pelvic physical therapist can help!
At PelvicSanity we specialize exclusively in treating these pelvic health issues. Not just reducing your symptoms, but getting to the underlying “why” for true, lasting relief.
Hour-long treatment sessions. All hands-on and one-on-one in a private treatment room with a true specialist. Not ‘just Kegel.’ Not strapping you to a biofeedback machine. Helping you reach goals you didn’t even think were in reach.
That’s what “good to go” really means. Give our team a call for a free 10-min phone consult, let us answer any questions and help you find relief of pelvic health issues!
Far too many mothers suffer with pelvic health issues for years (or decades) after a baby. These problems can be embarrassing, frustrating and often life-changing. PelvicSanity was founded to help you find true, lasting relief of pelvic health symptoms and get back to doing what you love.