Postpartum Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

By Nabila Jutha

Ever wonder why pelvic floor physiotherapy has stirred up some great conversation topics amongst friends and family with little ones? After giving birth a woman’s body, in particular her pelvic floor, has gone through an array of changes. Whether you’ve had a vaginal or cesarean birth, the pelvic floor and other soft tissue structures surrounding it have been affected. Other determinants that can affect your pelvic floor structures include the size of your baby, the duration of labour, the delivery method used, and the number of pregnancies you’ve had.

Take a look at the statements below, do any of these thoughts sound familiar?

“I am peeing my pants when I laugh, cough, sneeze or jump!”

“I am noticing doming of my belly when lifting my child or rolling out of bed”

“I had a c-section and I can’t stand looking at my scar, it also hurts to touch.”

“It hurts to have intercourse.”

“I’m nervous to have intercourse again, I don’t know what it’s like down there after the baby.”

“I feel like there’s a golf ball pushing out of my vagina.”

“I want to get back into the gym, but not sure what exercises to do and not do at this point.”

If any of these statements or thoughts have crossed your mind since having your baby, a visit to see the pelvic floor physiotherapist is a MUST!

Here is a simple checklist that you can also use to see whether or not you should pick up the phone and make an appointment with your physiotherapist:

•      6 weeks after having a vaginal birth

•      8 weeks after having a cesarean section

•      Diagnosed with Diastasis Recti or “Mummy Tummy”

•      Experiencing urinary or fecal incontinence

•      Diagnosed with a POP (pelvic organ prolapse)

•      Pelvic pain with or without intercourse

•      Getting back to the gym, running, etc.

•      Lower back pain, hip pain, shoulder pain

•      Episiotomy performed during delivery

•      Any grade 1-4 tearing during labour and delivery

If after having your six-week follow up with your doctor, OBGYN, and/or midwife, and any of the above have been mentioned, then seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist can impact the healing and function of your pelvic structures after having your baby. The results of regular physiotherapy treatment for a minimum of an 8-week period have demonstrated positive tissue healing and a strong, functional pelvic floor regardless of complications with birth.

References

ALLEN, R., HOSKER, G., SMITH, A. and WARRELL, D. (1991). Pelvic Floor Damage and Childbirth. Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey, 46(4), pp.209-210.

Handa, V., Blomquist, J., McDermott, K., Friedman, S. and Muñoz, A. (2012). Pelvic Floor Disorders After Childbirth: Effect of Episiotomy, Perineal Laceration, and Operative Birth. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 119(2, Part 1), pp.233-239.

Morkved, S. and Bo, K. (2000). Effect of postpartum pelvic floor muscle training in prevention and treatment of urinary incontinence: a one-year follow up. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 107(8), pp.1022-1028.


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