Perinatal Health / Optimization of Pelvic Floor Health in Pregnancy / Preventative Pelvic Floor Exercises / Preparing for Delivery / ”Re-education” of the Pelvic Floor and Abdominals in the Postpartum Period
Pregnancy and delivery brings many changes to a woman’s body during this transformative period of life. A multitude of changes (hormonal, muscular, connective tissue, and weight) may contribute to common dysfunction syndromes of the pelvic floor, pelvis and abdominals. There can be changes in bowel and bladder control; the bladder, uterus or rectum might drop (i.e. pelvic organ prolapse); abdominal muscles can stretch and separate (diastasis rectus abdominis/DRA); and back, pelvic (sacroiliac) or groin (symphysis pubis) pain may become a concern.
Physiotherapy can help you identify how to lower your risk of experiencing these symptoms, identify if any of these conditions are occurring for you, and how to move and exercise correctly to minimize and/or eliminate these concerns.
It can also be helpful to learn how to actively, completely relax the pelvic floor in preparation for delivery. The uterus is a strong muscle that does most of the expulsion of the baby during the birth, and the pelvic floor needs to completely relax to allow the baby to be born with the least amount of strain to the muscles. Many women have been deemed “ineffective pushers” in that during the pushing stage, they were not effective in relaxing their pelvic floor.
Recovering the function of your pelvic floor and abdominals post-delivery is not an easy road for many women. If you have any concerns or symptoms, physiotherapy can help you bring back control of your muscles so that you know how to return to activity in a safe and supportive way.