Before I was pregnant, I didn’t give much thought to bladder leakage problems or issues with pelvic pain. I mainly associated that with the commercials I saw for older women wearing “adult diapers”…Needless to say, I didn’t know how important it would be to get to know my pelvic floor.
Cut to me in the OBGYN’s office every week- ya know because of that lovely “Advanced Maternal Age” label ???? and there weren’t any conversations about these kinds of effects of pregnancy and childbirth.
I started hearing the term diastasis recti, and a lot of the related information was focused on the aesthetics, or the “mommy tummy”. When I brought this up at doctor’s appointments, it was pretty much downplayed to “everyone has some separation, it most likely won’t be an issue”…
Then one of my clients at my previous job told me about her experience after her second child in which she felt like her insides were “falling out”, and she was diagnosed with a prolapse.
I got more nervous about what was to come after I had my baby! I envisioned a huge gap in my stomach, and having to constantly do kegels to keep from peeing!
Thankfully, I didn’t experience any major symptoms (the bladder leakage I experienced during pregnancy seemed to go away after c-section recovery).
But, as I think back to my postpartum OBGYN visits, I wasn’t asked whether I was having any of these symptoms and at that time I’m not sure I would have known what to ask about even if I were!
Many women go through pregnancy and childbirth, and it puts our bodies through so much, and most think they just have to accept the after-affects because there is not much shared about how to deal with it!
So hopefully this week some of what I share with you may help you, and also help you see that while you’re not alone in what you may be experiencing, that doesn’t mean that you just have to figure out how to live with the symptoms!
Your pelvic floor is basically a group of muscles and tissue that keep all of your organs inside your body (that’s a pretty important function, don’t ya think??), and also help with bladder and bowel control.
So what exactly IS pelvic floor and why should you care about what it does???
You may have heard of or practiced doing kegels by stopping your pee mid-stream. But that’s as far as you got with it…
It may be a surprise to know that your pelvic floor muscles also work together with your deep stabilizing system of your diaphragm, and transverse abdominus (these are the deep muscles sometimes thought of as a corset that wraps around your sides).
❓OK, so how are you supposed to know if you’re experience pelvic floor dysfunction?
One of most common symptoms is incontinence:
- maybe leaking urine with something like a cough, sneeze, laughing, or jumping/exerting during exercise
- you feel a strong urge to go, or you might not make it to the bathroom in time
- you always feel like you have to go
- you wake up several times at night to go
Other symptoms you might experience include hip pain, or low back pain, pain during sex, feeling like something is “falling out”, or difficulty with everyday movements like walking, squatting, or lifting things.
As I mentioned, many of these symptoms are all too common for postpartum women, so if any of those listed about sound like something you’re experiencing, don’t think that something is wrong with you!!
Hopefully you feel comfortable discussing with your doctor, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It could also be very helpful to consult with a pelvic health physiotherapist who specializes in helping women with these issues.
In the meantime, make sure you hang out with me this week to learn more, and as always I would love to hear from you!!