Taking care of your Pelvic Floor - a short and sweet overview
It's not normal to have a prolapse or should it be accepted that when we have children our pelvic floor is going to be ruined for the rest of our days. What we do need to know is how to care for this important part of our bodies without shame or ignorance, as it is our divine feminine powerhouse. I have gone on the journey to explore and understand what information is key to get out there so you don’t have to suffer but will know what to do to keep and get your pelvic floor back in shape.
I asked physio Sarah Howitt who specialises in pre-post pelvic floor care on her thoughts and recommendations to having a healthy strong functioning pelvic floor during and after birth. Here is her expert opinion.
Pre Baby - We definitely want you to be doing some pelvic floor training in the lead up to your birth however it is really important that you are not doing too much and are creating an extremely tight pelvic floor. Remember you still need to be able to push that baby out. At this stage we want to work on the functionality of your pelvic floor and not just the brute strength of it. Doing exercises like drawing your pelvic floor on about 20% and then relaxing, the drawing your pelvic floor up to 50% and relaxing and then drawing your pelvic floor on 100% and relaxing. The relaxing component it really important! You only need to be doing this a couple of times a day, 2-3 times a week.
Post Baby - ALL women should have a postnatal Physiotherapy check up about 6 weeks after you have your baby. This is regardless of your method of delivery. During this assessment it is important to assess the health of your pelvic floor and it's strength. Many women start trying to perform pelvic floor and core exercises after child birth and are unfortunately doing the exercises wrong. Performing regular pelvic floor strengthening exercises is essential to ensure the future health of your pelvic floor. Postnatal pelvic floor strength training often starts with pure strength training where you are working your pelvic floor at 100% of its capacity. These exercises should always be done in the evenings. We then progress these exercises on to more functional exercises. However everyone's recovery is different and your pelvic floor-strengthening program should be individualised to your specific needs.
During this post baby period it is important to really look after yourself for at lease 3 months after childbirth. Please don't embark on any high impact exercise during this time.
It is really important to have a Women's Health Physio assess your pelvic floor correctly. This will ensure that you are performing the exercises correctly.
Hear that ladies, no exercise for 6 weeks after bubs and the 4th trimester is not only referring to your baby’s need for further nurturing. It also is speaking to you! Your body has been through a major transformation and requires recovering time and self-care.
If you want more info you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be referred to one of our pelvic floor specialists.