Here’s an unfortunate truth: pregnancy and delivery can lead to pelvic floor problems. And it’s no wonder. Your body experiences tremendous change during both pregnancy and delivery. This has a direct impact on your pelvic floor. The hammock-like muscles that support the base of your pelvis go through a lot during this time. You’ve just spent nine long months carrying your baby, then delivering your baby (whether vaginal or caesarean delivery). But now what? After baby is born, attention is shifted from the pregnancy to the new baby, which is necessary. But at the same time, new moms have concerns that need to be addressed:
- How long it will take for my body to heal?
- What about this pressure or a heaviness in my pelvis?
- What about unpleasant concerns such as bladder or bowel leaks, not being able suppress gas?
You are not alone. These are common issues and they are all related to the pelvic floor. Talk to your healthcare provider. And take comfort in knowing that there’s something you can do to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and ease these concerns. Kegels! Let’s take a closer look and understand how they can help new moms.
Help heal perineal tissues
What are perineal tissues? These are pelvic floor muscles, connective tissues, and skin around the vaginal and anal area. If you had a tear or an episiotomy, pelvic floor muscle exercises (aka Kegels) are helpful at regaining strength, awareness, and help with the healing and closing process of our perineal tissue. Kegels are also great to help reduce pressure on an episiotomy and the surrounding tissues.
If you have scar tissue from your tear or episiotomy, be sure to let your healthcare provider know. This can interfere with returning to sexual activity due to discomfort or bring you down a long road of pelvic pain that can simply be avoided with the proper treatments. There are great manual therapy scar tissue techniques that pelvic floor physical therapists use to help with the healing process of scar tissue, and your healthcare provider can help find a qualified provider near you.
Regain pelvic floor muscle strength and tone (and decrease back pain)
A woman gains an average of 25-35 pounds during pregnancy…imagine putting 25-35 pounds in a hammock for nine months and expecting the hammock to look the same as it did 9 months ago. Not going to happen! This hammock scenario represents what our happens to our pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy, so it goes without saying that the odds of having some type of pelvic floor involvement after childbirth can be quite high.
Starting a pelvic floor strengthening program as soon as possible (and even during pregnancy) can help regain our muscle strength and tone. Well, what is tone? Tone is that stretched out, droopy hammock that has lost its strength to perform its regular activities, which in terms of the pelvic floor muscles can lead to prolapse, incontinence, sexual dysfunction, and even a lack of stability in our trunk (leading to back pain).
Yes, pelvic floor exercises are helpful for lower back pain too. The pelvic floor muscles are just one of four muscles of our deep inner core. The others include: the diaphragm, the lumbar multifidus, and the transversus abdominus. Gaining control and coordination of this system is a key component re-stabilizing our spine, trunk, and pelvis to help with back pain (and common SI joint pain from pregnancy and childbirth) to be able to enjoy regular activities again like bending, lifting, and exercising.
Looking for something to use at home to help progress your strengthening? Flyte is an easy, simple use-at-home product to help restore the strength and tone of your pelvic floor muscles. Learn more about Flyte in Top 10 Questions Women Ask About Flyte.
Treat and prevent prolapse symptoms
Do you have a heaviness or pressure sensation “down there?” Do you have a bulge or can feeling something coming out of the vagina or anus? Do you have difficulty emptying your bladder or bowel? If you said yes to one or more of these questions, you likely have some degree of pelvic organ prolapse.
A pelvic organ prolapse (POP) happens when there is a loss of strength and tone to the muscles and tissues of the pelvic floor, and they no longer support the internal organs causing a drop (prolapse) of the pelvic organs from their normal position. A POP can happen to the vagina, cervix, uterus, bladder, urethra, rectum, and/or small intestine. The stretched out, droopy hammock of our pelvic floor muscles is a reason this happens to our internal organs. So, it only makes sense that regaining our muscle strength and tone of our pelvic floor would help to treat, prevent, and reverse a prolapse. Keep in mind there are 4 different degrees of prolapse that would be diagnosed by a healthcare provider to determine the best mode of treatment. In the meantime, starting your Kegels can really be helpful with this condition.
Treat and prevent urinary incontinence symptoms
Motherhood comes with so many new joys that incontinence is something we just don’t have time for. Even something as simple as a sneeze and a leak or not being able to hold gas anymore, let’s be honest…this is not normal. If stress urinary incontinence (leaks with increased abdominal pressure such as sneezing, coughing, exercise) was happening during pregnancy, there is a 579% likeliness to still have that one-year post-partum. The good news is, there is something you can do.
First, pelvic floor exercises are recommended by the American College of Physicians to be a first-line treatment option for women with SUI. You can do these from the convenience of home, which most new moms appreciate. You can work on endurance contractions as well as quick contractions, just be sure to relax between each contraction.
Second, to make Kegels much more effective, you can add our product Flyte. Flyte is more than just a pelvic floor muscle strengthener. Flyte is an effective treatment for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) that you use at home for just five minutes per day for six weeks (the standard treatment time). Flyte is designed to amplify the benefit of each Kegel contraction by 39 times, which means it takes less time to see results than with Kegels alone. Flyte is FDA cleared and clinically proven in two clinical trials. In one trial, 83% of women with SUI were dry in six weeks. It’s worth a try. (The money-back guarantee allows you to try Flyte risk free.)
Improve intimacy and sex
Yup! You read that right! Pelvic floor exercises can improve your strength and tone of muscles around the vagina and anus leading to a more enjoyable, pleasurable experience for both you and your partner! How might you ask?
- Learning both how to contract and then relax these muscles lets your vagina and/or rectum be more open to penetration through this relaxation ability
- The pelvic floor muscles also have a circulation mechanism, meaning they increase the blood flow to your vagina and anus leading to…
- A better orgasm! And…
- The ability to self-lubricate!
Bowel, bladder, and sexual function are normal parts of our life. These can all be affected from pregnancy and childbirth. Kegels can offer an easy alternative to starting exercise treatments on your own to help with some of these conditions. If you notice you are still having difficulty with any of these issues, reach out to your healthcare provider and determine what treatment option is best for you!
Need help learning how to do Kegels? Check out our Kegel how-to guide here!