Why does this postpartum pelvic floor rehab stuff even matter?

 In Motherhood, Movement, Pelvic Floor, Pilates, Postpartum

Did you recently have a baby? Like, within the previous five years. Are you breastfeeding? Are you a woman? Do you have abdominal muscles a pelvic floor or a pelvis? Do you have symptoms like leaking wee or wind or even poo? Or pelvic pain in the bones or in the pelvic floor? Or a gap in your abdominal midline? Are your abdominals all mushy? Do you have tight neck and shoulders? Do you have any hip pain? Are you lifting and carrying a baby or children or a pram or capsule or bags of shopping or baskets of washing – heavy awkward wriggly things on a daily basis? Do you have a prolapse? Do you know what a prolapse is? Would you like a prolapse? Would you like to leak when you cough or laugh?

Do you know how to contract your pelvic floor? Do you want to know? Do you want to protect and strengthen your pelvic floor to prevent things like incontinence and prolapse in the future?

Not interested? No worries, there’s plenty of exercise and fitness out there that will serve your needs.

What I love to do is promote your education about how your body moves and functions. I teach you how to align your body so the muscles can work their best. Teach you how to contract and release your pelvic floor to ensure you strengthen rather than weaken and damage your pelvic floor every time you move or exercise.

Would you like to be or become one of the 50% of women who have had babies who have prolapse? Or the 1 in 3 women who leak?

Movement matters. How you move your body impacts how it functions – how it works.

If your pelvic floor is weak and/or tight and you pick up something heavy like a toddler, then it’s entirely possible you may push down on the pelvic floor muscles to find the strength to lift – you may bear down or brace out. Do this enough times with enough force and this may lead to pelvic organ prolapse, pain or leaking.

The muscles of the body work in coordinated teams and the team is only as strong as the weakest link.

It matters if your pelvic floor is weak. If it’s weak perhaps you can’t feel it, you can’t relax it, you can’t activate it. It matters because it’s the floor of the body. It supports your pelvic organs up inside the pelvis and helps hold the pelvis together. It coordinates with your abdominals, your gluteal (buttock) muscles, your back muscles, your diaphragm, and helps keep all these muscles working well.

Now if you don’t move, ever. Then don’t worry, this doesn’t apply to you. But if you do move, especially if you have any symptoms of pelvic floor damage like leaking, hip pain, pelvic pain, a low belly pooch, prolapse – a heavy, dragging, aching feeling in the perineum – then how your pelvic floor functions is important to understand as a preventative health measure, or a restorative health measure and is fundamental to being physically strong.

Pelvic floor symptoms can be debilitating, frustrating, embarrassing and lonely for so many women.

Pelvic floor injuries are often preventable and can often be rehabilitated. But not with running or HIIT. Not even with a standard pilates or yoga class.

You need a womens health physiotherapist and a movement practitioner trained in whole body pelvic floor movement training. Perhaps an Osteopath for structural work and perhaps a Naturopath for nutritional healing.

It is possible to rehabilitate your pelvic floor but it takes time, patience, diligence. If you have symptoms, it’s unlikely it’ll heal on its own unless you change your movement patterning and strategies – by coordinating  the activation of your pelvic floor to your breath and the rest of your body.

If your tummy presses out when you do something challenging with your body, that’s indicating a less than ideal movement strategy for your pelvic floor. Do you do sit ups? Does your belly dome, bulge, press out when you curl up? That indicates bearing down on your pelvic floor. Want to know how to make it better? For many women it IS possible.

My aim is that you learn a good pelvic floor strategy that’s strengthening rather than damaging and then you can apply it to whatever you do. To whatever movement modality you love.

I’d love you to understand how to work safely with your body so that you can do the things in your life that you need and want to. From wearing your baby for hours at a time, to lifting children up to the monkey bars, chasing your toddler down the street, pulling the pram up the steps, returning to yoga or boxing or ballet or hiking or whatever it is you love.

I use pilates as a way to teach this fundamental movement information, but I want you to be empowered with keeping your body safe as you move it in any way that makes you feel happy. Because we all move. Everyday. So let’s move well.

Not worth it? Can’t be bothered? Get a pad. Or some Modi Bodi pants. Or make sure you don’t sneeze. Or laugh. Or jump. Ever.

After giving birth, your body deserves to heal, recover and return to its full strength and happiness. Please give it some love and attention.

You only have one amazing body. And if this body just grew and birthed a human. It needs and deserves some tenderness and consideration.

You can get a free guide to helping your body recover in the early weeks after giving birth here. If you want to learn more about how to move well and rehabilitate your body after birth then you can join my Facebook group Pilates for Mothers right here.  x

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