Child bearing and child birth are beautiful and natural processes, but they can put strain on the body. Although a certain amount of ‘wear and tear’ should be expected, it’s not normal to be left with ongoing issues.
A Pre-natal pelvic floor assessment is useful to learn how to do your Pelvic Floor exercises (Kegels) properly. These exercises are important as a strong pelvic floor optimizes healing and minimizes issues post birth.
Learning to relax the pelvic floor fully is also important to prepare for birthing (basically learn how to push!) which helps to minimize strain to the perineum.
Women who complete some pelvic floor ‘prehab’ before the birth, are much better prepared to start their rehab post partum.
Post-natal pelvic floor physiotherapy is absolutely necessary for all women to ensure full recovery from the changes of pregnancy and birthing. It is so effective at preventing long term issues it is offered routinely in many European countries.
Every new mum should be checked around 6-8 weeks post partum and certainly before starting any impact or heavy exercise. It’s important to check for prolapse and diastasis particularly, as these can be asymptomatic but get worse over time.
Symptoms that are normal to experience in the first few weeks post partum are discomfort, weakness, poor sensation, and some leaking. These should all be resolved with your bodies natural healing by 8 weeks so any symptoms at this point indicate an issue that requires treatment. All women should be checked, but the following are signs and symptoms that particularly indicate the need for rehab;
If your labor involved;
- forceps / vacuum delivery
- tearing, particularly grade 2 or greater
- pushing for greater than 2 hours
- felt like a traumatic experience
Any of the following issues experienced 8 weeks post birthing indicates a problem;
- leaking when you laugh / sneeze / lift
- feeling vaginal pressure or heaviness
- perineum or pelvic pain
- doming or sinking of abdominal muscles
- incomplete emptying of bladder / bowel
If you had a c’section, it’s a good idea to get help retraining the lower abdominal muscles. The pelvic floor is also often still effected through the process of pregnancy even without vaginal birth.
Pelvic pain in pregnancy can occur due to the combined effects of poor alignment, and normal pregnancy related mechanical and hormonal changes. The pain is often felt in the SI joints, pubic bone (pubic symphysis dysfunction) groin, hips and sometimes into the thighs. It is NOT expected to experience pain just because you Pain often occurs on rolling over in bed, getting in and out of a car, changing position and walking. Anniken uses the “Rost” technique, specially designed for this kind of pain, to correct the pelvis and strengthen the right muscles to support the pregnancy. This involves standard hands on Physiotherapy to correct joint and muscle dysfunction, and an exercise program working together initially, and then continued at home, to maintain correct alignment and stability.
Diastasis rectus abdominus is the separation of your tummy muscles. It can look like a gap, hollow or bulge down the center of your abs. It is important to have this assessed and rehabilitated properly with your pelvic floor and core muscles before you go back to normal exercise.Book an appointment