Pelvic Floor Wellness Postpartum
How to feel your pelvic floor, heal your pelvic floor and live a life of wellness!
I’ve learned in my practice over the years that a lot of women are not intimately familiar with their pelvic floor. This is no fault of their own, as the majority of women are not taught about the inner workings of our pelvis. As a result, the pelvic floor has been a hush hush topic. However, this paradigm is shifting. The most common response I get when I ask a patient about their pelvic floor is, “that’s what Kegels are for, right?” Commonly followed by, “Yeah, I do those at the stoplight.”
Certainly, Kegels are a way to target the pelvic floor. However, most of us aren’t doing Kegels correctly. Unfortunately, we have been given bad information. Usually it is an afterthought phrase like ‘stop the flow of urine’ which results in an indiscriminate squeeze of everything “down there”.
So what is the pelvic floor anyway?
Perhaps you have heard it described as a hammock. Or a bowl of muscles at the base of the pelvis. I describe the pelvic floor as the foundation of your core. The pelvic floor consists of a woven basket-like group of muscles that has 2 layers. Your deeper slow twitch fibers are your endurance fibers that support your organs and act as the base of your core throughout the day. As well as your more superficial layer of fast twitch fibers, used for quick rapid contractions such as sneezing, jumping, lifting and lunging after that toddler as he’s about to step of the curb!
Basically these muscles are here to provide you and your organs stability and to help you move things out- not just in the bathroom, but babies too.
Culturally there is a big disconnect with this area of the body. A lot of women learn about their pelvic floor for the first time when they are pregnant. And become even more curious after having a baby.
Unfortunately, the American system of postpartum recovery falls short of what is needed for optimal recovery of the pelvic floor. At six weeks postpartum most women are told they can go back to all of their pre-pregnancy activities. This includes: running, CrossFit, yoga, sex and everything else. With docotor’s approval, a lot of women try these things and find that their body feels very different.
Some common symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunctions include:
-Incontinence: An inability to get to the bathroom in time or involuntary leakage (usually with laughing, sneezing or jumping)
-Prolapse: a heaviness, bulging or increase pressure in the vaginal canal.
–Pelvic instability: pubic symphysis, tail bone or sacroiliac joint pain
-Constipation or difficulty in emptying bowels.
-Pain with sex or general disconnect.
-Deep low back pain, vaginal pain or rectum pain.
Many women think that these symptoms are just the cost of having children. However, they are not. Pelvic floor function can be restored. And over time women can live without the fear of the peeze aka that little bit of pee when you sneeze.
Chiropractic work is one of many tools that can help women regain function.
As a chiropractor I use a holistic approach to treat these muscles based off the patient’s comfort level. Pelvic Floor work can be one of the vital resources in addressing pelvic discomfort. As you may guess, this work may bring up varied emotional responses, which is normal. Before we begin, any concerns patients may have in regards to this work are always addressed. Internal work is only done if patients are comfortable and ready.
There are three components to internal pelvic floor work.
Theses components are: gentle intravaginal massage technique, restorative breathing techniques, and internal queuing of strengthening exercises. However, there is a myriad of work and verbal queing that can be done externally and without touch to still affect great change as well. This process can be beneficial for all stages of a woman’s life, helping to reestablish strength and synergy in the pelvic musculature, increase blood flow to the pelvic organs, and help decrease problematic symptoms.
Certainly, all women deserve to know about their body and to receive compassionate care to help them reconnect and restore function in this vital area. My goal is to educate and empower women to live a life of wellness. It may take time and courage, and I am here to support you.
If this peaked your interest and your would like to learn more, you can purchase my E-Book, The Unstoppable Mom. On the other hand, if you are currently pregnant please check out the FREE offering, How to Naturally Manage the Pains of Pregnancy, that I am co-hosting with acupuncturist Erin Brockmeyer on May 11th.