Why you need to know about your Pelvic Floor during Pregnancy and Postpartum

I thought my first pregnancy was uncomfortable, but I was in for a real surprise with Baby #2!

I did all the things, massage, chiro, etc., and decided to go see a pelvic floor physio in my 2nd trimester just to see what it was all about. I figured I work in this industry, and I have the health benefits, what better way to learn what a pelvic health physio actually does than go see one?

 

I had some pubic symphysis pain, SI joint pain and low back pain, but I also wanted just to get assessed and see where my pelvic floor was at before having my baby – because I had heard it was a good thing to do AFTER having a baby. It turned out to be a good thing I did this during pregnancy because it was a huge piece of the puzzle for me in having an empowering birthing experience and learning more about my body.

 

Well, what did I learn? I learned that kegels were not the thing for me to be doing during pregnancy and that there is such a thing as too much tension in your pelvic floor. It blew my mind when she told me that I needed to focus on relaxing the muscles in my pelvic floor to prepare for birth. And the more I worked on this, the less pain I had in my hips, low back and pubic area. Fascinating right?

 

It is important to remember that each person is unique in their needs during their pregnancy; thus a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist is a great resource to assess your body’s needs. Some people might need to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles in their pregnancy, while others might need to learn how to relax them.

 

During the later stages of pregnancy, you want to learn how to lengthen and relax your pelvic floor muscles to prepare for birth. Pelvic Health physiotherapists know all about the muscles and ligaments in the pelvis and how to assess for weakness or dysfunction in these areas. Pelvic floor muscles support the bladder, hold your pelvic organs in place, and squeeze around the vagina and rectum. These muscles act like a sling running from your tailbone to your pubic bone. Often, pain or symptoms felt in the lower back, hips, pubic bone or tailbone could be due to pelvic floor dysfunction.

 

Here is some basic information on the pelvic floor and what it does, signs of dysfunction and who pelvic floor physio is for:

 

Resources:

Expecting a Baby? http://www.pelvicfloorfirst.org.au/data/files/PFF_Resources/11_Expecting_a_baby.pdf

What is a Pelvic or Women’s Health Physiotherapist?
https://www.peaksportsandspinecentre.com.au/what-is-a-pelvic-or-womens-health-physiotherapist/

Pelvic Health and Pregnancy:  https://lakeviewphysio.ca/pelvic-health/womens-pelvic-health/

A few local Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists to Calgary, AB:
(There are more I am sure! Here are a few that I know of in various parts of the city)

Lakeview Physiotherapy

Peak Health and Performance

Beacon Hill Physiotherapy

*Article co-written with Leah Milne.

Check out Part 2 where I interview a local Pelvic Health Physiotherapist to get some common questions answered by an expert.

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