Pregnancy and childbirth can have a significant impact on women and birthing peoples' pelvic floor muscles. This can lead to pain, discomfort, incontinence (the involuntary leakage of urine), and other issues, including pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse is when one or more of the organs in the pelvis - the uterus, bladder, bowel, or top of the vagina - slip down from their normal position and bulge into the vagina. A prolapse is not life threatening, but it can be uncomfortable and even painful. Pelvic floor physiotherapy is an effective treatment option for these concerns and more, and can help new mom's and birthing people recover after pregnancy and giving birth.
Pelvic floor physiotherapy involves the use of techniques such as exercises, manual therapy, and education to help individuals restore and maintain optimal function of their pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that support the pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum. During pregnancy and childbirth, these muscles can become stretched and weakened, which can lead to problems such as incontinence, pain during intercourse, prolapse, difficulty with bowel movements, and difficulty returning to sports and other activities post partum. By working with a qualified pelvic floor physiotherapist, individuals who are pregnant or have given birth can receive a customized, effective treatment plan to help meet their specific needs and goals.
When should I see a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist?
An appointment with a pelvic floor physiotherapist can be beneficial at any stage pre or post partum, even decades after giving birth.
Ideally, someone would have their first pelvic floor physiotherapy appointment before giving birth, while they are still pregnant. This is not a requirement for effective care, but it does provide an opportunity to assess your pelvic health prior to you giving birth, giving us something to compare to after the birth.
Another reason to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist for prenatal care is that they can help you prepare for giving birth. Your physiotherapist can teach you techniques to help prevent perineal tearing, which can sometimes occur during vaginal births. Additionally, a pelvic physio can teach you techniques to help manage constipation, which is a common occurance during pregnancy, especially if someone has a prior history of constipation.
How can a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist help me recover from childbirth?
One way that a pelvic floor physiotherapist can help you recover after childbirth is by helping you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Exercise and manual therapy techniques can be used to target the pelvic floor muscles, helping to improve their strength and tone. This can reduce incontinence, improve sexual function, alleviate discomfort and pain, and improve overall pelvic floor function.
Another way a pelvic floor physiotherapist can help is by fitting you for a pessary. A pessary is a medical-grade device that is designed to aid in the management of symptoms from either pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence. Your physiotherapist will conduct a pelvic exam to determine if a pessary would be beneficial for you. There are many different shapes and sizes of pessaries; your pelvic floor physiotherapist can help fit you with the most comfortable and effective pessary for your individual needs.
In addition to the physical benefits of pelvic floor physiotherapy, an appointment with a pelvic floor physiotherapist can also provide a sense of emotional support and education for new parents. Our compassionate team members can help address any concerns or questions you may have about your postpartum recovery as a new parent, and provide guidance on how to manage any challenges you may be experiencing.
By incorporating pelvic floor physiotherapy into their prenatal preparation and postpartum recovery plan, new moms and birthing people can experience improved comfort, function, and overall well-being. If you are a new mom and/ or have recently given birth, and are interested in learning more about pelvic floor physiotherapy and pregnancy, we welcome you to contact us to discuss how we can support you during this exciting (and often challenging) time!
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