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Pelvic Floor Issues After Birth: Common But Not Normal

concerned woman laying in doctor's exam room with hands on lower abdomen and doctor's hand coming in from off screen

Listen in as a pelvic floor therapist and Carley chat about common postpartum pelvic floor issues, including diastasis recti, pain with intercourse, incontinence, and why Kegels aren’t usually the solution.

027 | Megan Rome of Rome Physical Therapy

It is essential to understand what is going on but, more importantly, why it happened in the first place. Megan Rome is a Pelvic Floor and Obstetrics Physical Therapist. She believes functional treatments you can use daily are the key to getting your life back.

She has continued her research and training in Pelvic Health, obstetrics, and breast cancer across the country over the past few years. Megan is privileged to make changes for those in need to decrease pain, dysfunction, and even fear.

A closer look at pelvic floor issues after birth

“Because you had a baby” is a lousy excuse for issues revolving around the pelvic floor. Bladder leakage, pain during intercourse, and pelvic pain while exercising or lifting are common signs that your pelvic floor needs some TLC.

And these issues are far from normal. If left untreated, they can carry over for many years, causing them to worsen or cause more severe problems such as pelvic floor prolapse.

Can childbirth cause pelvic floor dysfunction?

There are many variables when it comes to pelvic floor dysfunction. Childbirth is a very stressful and taxing process that changes our bodies, both physically and hormonally.

Vaginal tears and scar tissue are common during childbirth and can lead to many symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. Another common side effect of delivery is diastasis recti, the separation of our six-pack muscles that happens naturally when pregnant.

After birth, these muscles may not retract correctly, leaving a gap between the left and right sides, which causes the undesirable pooch just below our belly buttons.

By strengthening our pelvic floor and learning how to relax the muscles and manage pressure, these issues can be treated and are often 100% recoverable.

Learn more: The Only Clinically-Proven Workout Program to Fix Diastasis Recti

How do I know if my pelvic floor is damaged?

You can do a few things to tell if your pelvic floor is damaged. The first is obvious pain during intercourse or heavy lifting, either in your pelvic region or lower back. Bladder leakage is another sign of unable to retain or contract the muscles properly.

You can identify diastasis recti can by a pitching or tenting in the ab region. You can test if you have it by leaning back slightly while standing or lifting your legs against a wall while lying on your back.

While most sing the praises of how Kegel’s are the key to pelvic floor health, many variables do not make them ideal for recovery.

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mom practicing yoga nidra while postpartum

Kegels only work one layer of the pelvic floor, particularly not around the reproductive muscles. Working the entire scope of the pelvic floor is key to recovery and addressing the issues that may come with it.

A tight muscle is a weak muscle. We need to learn to turn them off and relax.

Is it normal to have a weak pelvic floor after birth?

55% of women will experience pelvic floor issues after giving birth, whether via c-section or natural. Even though these issues may be “common” for most women, they should not be considered normal. There are ways to prevent and treat pelvic floor complications before and after giving birth.

You can kick leakage, pelvic pain, or diastasis recti goodbye with the correct information and support. Being informed and knowing to ask the right questions is key to preventing more severe side effects of pelvic floor issues, both now and in the future.

Topics covered

Assume nothing is normal (1:29)
Pain with intercourse (3:39)
Help with pain (5:57)
Why isn’t pelvic floor therapy standard? (10:42)
What is diastasis recti and how to know if you have it (14:45)
Pelvic floor pressure management tips (18:51)
Self-check signs (21:59)
Leakage is normalized (33:06)
Not using Kegels correctly (34:00)
Two levels of the pelvic floor (40:00)

Additional resources

You can connect with Megan on her website and other social media platforms.

Other pelvic floor resources you might enjoy

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