Pregnancy and childbirth are a challenge for our bodies. A challenge our bodies can handle beautifully. But, a challenge none the less. In a relatively short period of time a woman’s body will change dramatically with pregnancy. Our pelvis will widen, our ribcage will expand, our abdominals will stretch, and our pelvic floor muscles will stretch as well.
Pelvic floor? What? Do I have a pelvic floor? Yes, you have a pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles at the bottom of your pelvis. They are around the vaginal and anal openings. The muscles that make up the pelvic floor play an important role in our most intimate functions. They control pee, poop and sex, hold up your bladder, rectum and uterus and stabilize your pelvis. And, for the most part we never think about them. In fact, most women don’t think about them until they have a problem. Perhaps, you leak urine with sneezing, coughing or when you exercise. Or maybe you have an increase in urinary urge and then leak urine. Or maybe you are struggling with returning to the exercise you enjoy after having a baby. During pregnancy and childbirth, the pelvic floor undergoes tremendous stretch and strain as they support the growing baby and allow for the baby to be born. After, pregnancy and childbirth these muscles require more attention so you can return to exercise without pain, be able to control your pee and enjoy sex again.
Can you imagine having an injury to another body part? Maybe your shoulder or your ankle. Would you expect to return to all your activities without any difficulty? Or would you expect to have to rest, recover and rehab that shoulder or ankle? The pelvic floor is no different than any other group of muscles in your body. They need to rest, recover and rehab after a pregnancy and delivery as well. Returning to your previous exercise or lifestyle without considering your pelvic floor can be challenging. Perhaps, you are not sure where to start or how to reintroduce exercise. A pelvic Physical Therapist can help you through the process of rest, recovery and rehab. A skilled pelvic PT will help guide you through the various stages of rehab and return to your previous active life.