Hey Moms: Let’s Talk Pelvic Floor Health
The transition to parenthood often brings with it both great joy and great challenge. While most new mothers adore their brand new bundles of joy, they also often find themselves weepy, confused, and unsure of exactly how they're supposed to take care of both their little one and themselves. While books and informational articles often talk about the challenges of pregnancy, birth, and caring for a newborn, they often leave out some of the biggest postpartum issues that mothers face including one that nearly all women experience but few talk about: Pelvic floor injury or weakness.
Growing and delivering a baby, whether vaginally or by c-section, can do a serious number on a woman's body. After months of increasing pressure and weight and an often strenuous delivery, the muscles that were tight pre-baby, are often stretched, loose, and weak. A weak or injured pelvic floor can lead to serious discomfort, urinary incontinence and, in serious cases, prolapse that requires surgical repair. If you’ve recently delivered a baby (or will be soon!) check out these tips to boost the health of your pelvic floor.
Do your Kegels
Often, when women are pregnant, their care providers recommend that they do Kegel exercises to strengthen their pelvic floor. What they don’t often do is explain to moms just how important these can be and how they might improve their post-delivery health. Doing Kegel exercises regularly can help keep a woman's pelvic floor muscles strong even as her belly grows and weight an pressure on her pelvic floor increases.
Exercise and eat a healthy diet
After your baby is born, eating a healthy diet and getting adequate exercise can feel extra challenging. Staying within a healthy weight range can have a big impact on the pressure placed on a woman’s pelvic floor. If hitting the gym is tough, consider getting in some movement by walking around the block with your baby in their carrier or stroller.
Be mindful of how you’re feeling
Most new moms spend the bulk of their time caring for and worrying over their tiny baby. While a baby’s health is certainly a top priority, it’s vital that women also take care of themselves. Check-in with yourself each day to see how your body is feeling and take note if you are experiencing any persistent discomfort or pain – this might be a sign that you are having pelvic floor issues.
Use a pelvic floor trainer
While Kegels often get the job done, women who know they need to repair their pelvic floor might consider using a pelvic floor trainer like the Elvie trainer. This trainer provides guidance to women as they practice contracting their muscles and give them positive feedback by way of an app that shows just how they’re doing.
Seek professional help
Often, women who are experiencing pelvic floor issues avoid seeking help because they’re embarrassed about the nature of the problem or hopeful that it will go away on its own. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort though, there’s nothing to lose by visiting a doctor. Often doctors are able to provide guidance around what’s normal and what’s not or make a recommendation to a pelvic floor therapist.