I hadn’t put any thought or consideration into the care of my postpartum pelvic floor until the birth of my last child. It wasn’t until I built this passion around fitness that I began to put more thought into the care and rehab of my pelvic floor as I fell in love with strength training and the drive to move more optimally in my whole body.
For me, the hardest part of prioritizing pelvic floor healing, and I’m sure many of you mothers can relate, is that it was hard to find the mind-muscle connection to engage my pelvic floor. I had no idea where or what it was. Because I couldn’t physically see my pelvic floor muscles, it took a level of practice and focus to engage and connect, especially postpartum when my muscles had been stretched due to childbirth, three times.
It’s important to note that the pelvic floor is a group of muscles and tissues that support the organs in the pelvic region, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum. These muscles can be weakened during pregnancy and childbirth due to hormonal changes, increased pressure, and stretching of the tissues. However, the body has a remarkable ability to heal and recover after childbirth, and many women regain strength and function in their pelvic floor over time.
Pelvic floor dysfunction affects many new mothers, but there are still many myths and misconceptions surrounding this condition. In this post, I will debunk some of the most common postpartum pelvic floor myths.
Myth #1: Postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction only affects women who had difficult births.
Postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction can affect any woman, regardless of whether she had a difficult birth or not. The trauma of childbirth, as well as the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and postpartum, can all contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction.
There are various factors that can contribute to postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction, and they can vary from person to person.
Myth #2: Kegel exercises are the only way to strengthen the pelvic floor after childbirth.
Keep in mind that while these exercises don’t directly target the pelvic floor, they contribute to overall lower body strength, stability, and alignment, which can have a positive impact on pelvic floor health.
While Kegel exercises are an effective way to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, they are not the only option. Other exercises, such as squats, lunges, and bridges, can also be effective in strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.
Myth #3: Postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction is only temporary.
Pelvic floor dysfunction can be temporary or persistent, depending on the underlying causes and individual circumstances. In many cases, with appropriate treatment and management, pelvic floor dysfunction can be resolved or significantly improved over time.
However, it’s important to note that the duration and outcome of pelvic floor dysfunction can vary from person to person and while some cases of postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction may improve on their own, many women experience long-term symptoms.
Myth #4: Postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction is just a part of being a mother.
While pelvic floor dysfunction is a common condition among new mothers, it is not something that should be accepted as a normal part of motherhood.
Not all women experience postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction. Factors such as genetics, overall health, and the type of delivery can influence the likelihood and severity of pelvic floor issues.
Myth #5: You should avoid exercise if you have pelvic floor dysfunction.
While certain exercises may exacerbate symptoms, exercise is generally recommended for people with pelvic floor dysfunction. Exercise can improve overall pelvic floor function and help manage symptoms by improving overall muscle strength and support.
Exercises that target the core and lower body, such as pelvic tilts, squats, lunges, and bridges, can indirectly strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These exercises engage the surrounding muscles, including the abdominals, glutes, and thighs, which provide additional support to the pelvic floor.
The bottom line? No postpartum pelvic floor is the same.
With many common misconceptions and online information surrounding the pelvic floor, it can become hard to decipher what’s true and what’s not. Understand that there are many factors that contribute to the overall health of your postpartum pelvic floor. Therefore, no treatment or healing journey will be the same.
Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common condition among new mothers, but it is important to separate fact from fiction. By debunking these common myths, we can encourage new mothers to seek proper treatment and improve their pelvic floor health.