You’ve had a baby and want to get back to what you love to do. However maybe you have a Diastasis Recti (a separation of the abdominal muscles) and are scared of making it worse, or maybe you are frustrated from peeing your pants during attempts of exercise. Perhaps intercourse hasn’t been the same since you’ve had a baby, and you begin to wonder if there is any hope of it ever getting better.
No It Is Not Normal…
Too many times these issues are thought of as “the new normal” after having a baby. While these issues can be common, It is NOT normal and should never be acceptable! At the 6 week checkup Moms are given the clear to return to activities such as sex and exercise, however they are not given any real guidance on how to do that.
We are huge advocates of ALL MOMS receiving treatment from a pelvic floor therapist after having a baby.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you are in the right place! We understand what women go through after having a baby and how to help them feel confident in their bodies again. Here are common conditions that we screen for and treat:
Diastasis Recti or Abdominal Muscles Separation
This is the separation of the abdominal muscles that can occur during pregnancy. It is recommended that Moms progress with certain exercises when restoring these muscles in the post-partum period. The goal is “never to do a crunch again” but instead to learn the right way to engage the muscles so you can return to the exercises you enjoy doing in a safe matter.
Sometimes exercise programs geared for new Moms may include exercises such as planks and crunches before the muscles are ready, which could potentially hinder the healing process. Understanding the progression of exercises along with the right way to engage the core and pelvic floor muscles will strengthen the abdominal muscles in a safe way to get Moms back doing what they love!
Low and Mid Back, Hip, and Leg Pain
Any residual pain from pregnancy may still linger after delivery. Sometimes pain can start after holding the baby a certain way that causes strain, body mechanics while caring for the baby, or perhaps certain postures while breastfeeding.
This can arise from tearing or episiotomy during delivery. Prolonged scar tenderness and limited scar mobility can contribute to pain during intercourse. The pelvic floor muscles surrounding the perineum can become tight and painful as well. Scar massage can help alleviate the pain along with learning how to relax the pelvic floor muscles to regain normal tone.
This can involve urinary incontinence or even fecal leakage with activities such as running, lifting objects, sneezing or coughing. Urge incontinence or urgency may occur which involves the feeling of having to go the bathroom when the bladder isn’t full. In cases of pelvic pain, there may be difficulty initiating urination, as the muscles remain tight and unable to relax to allow emptying of the bladder.
This can be as a result of perineal pain and discomfort as mentioned above, or can be from a number of musculoskeletal conditions such as tight or weak muscles, hip pain, back pain, lower abdominal pain, nerve irritation and even restricted scars from previous surgeries. Constipation can also play a part in pelvic pain.
As a result of surgery, scars in some cases can become adhered or “stuck” which can cause pain with activity. After undergoing a C-section, some women may feel the need to protect the area, resulting in poor posture and limited back mobility. This could lead to low back pain or pelvic pain from decreased mobility over time. Scar tissue massage, as well as the right exercises, can decrease or eliminate symptoms that can be common after c-section surgery. Want more info about c-section recovery? Here is a blog on C-Section 101.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
As a result of pregnancy and childbirth, the pelvic floor muscles that support our organs such as the bladder, bowel and uterus, can become stretched and weakened. These organs can start to slip downward along the vaginal wall. Some women who have this describe feelings of pressure along the vagina during activities, while some have no symptoms at all. In some cases it can make intercourse uncomfortable. Rehabilitating the pelvic floor muscles can help lessen or eliminate the symptoms of prolapse and help to avoid worsening it.
Once the baby is born and mom has been cleared to return to her previous activities, normally around the 6-8 week post-delivery mark, we recommend an evaluation by a pelvic floor physical therapist. This involves checking both the external muscles such as the abdominal muscles, low back, hip and postural muscles along with the internal pelvic floor muscles. An internal pelvic exam will be performed to check for any vaginal or perineal pain as a result of tearing or episiotomy. The strength of the vaginal or pelvic floor muscles will also be assessed to establish the right home exercise program.
Check out our Postpartum Power Up page! See why we are so passionate about helping Moms, and check out our Postpartum Power Up membership program for Moms that will be launching Summer 2023. Would you like to become part of the “founding members launch” and give us feedback on the program for a significantly discounted fee?
If you are ready to get started with regaining your confidence and strength give us a call!
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“Before meeting with Camille, I was afraid of my postpartum body. I didn’t know the condition I was in, and I was uneducated about how the pelvic floor worked and how my abdominal muscles were connected. Camille helped educate, empower, strengthen, and equip me to both love and find freedom in my body after baby. Even after being discharged, I am following workouts that she put together to target the pelvic floor as well as muscle groups I want to focus on.
I wish more women knew a better and more comfortable “normal” is possible postpartum, and I have experienced that with better bladder control and no doming in my abs. So thankful!“
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