The pending arrival of your baby brings a new way of life. Whether this is your first or second pregnancy, the journey to motherhood will be full of new experiences. Just like how you are adapting to a new routine, your body will undergo many physical changes in the coming months. Even if this is not your first pregnancy, your body might not be ready for the coming changes and your pelvic floor might be in need of more love and care than ever.
At InvigoPhysio, we are here to help you on your motherhood journey, from addressing your prenatal needs to making sure you have a speedy postpartum recovery.
What is your pelvic floor?
Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles located at the bottom of your pelvis, like a large hammock hanging from your pubic bone to tailbone holding up your bladder, uterus, and bowel. They help support your body during daily activities such as standing, walking, bladder and bowel control, and play an important role in sexual activities. These muscles are strong and resilient; however, constant pressure or physical stress, such as high impact sports and pregnancy, can put a strain on them.
Therefore, it is important for women to have their pelvic floor assessed, especially during the pregnancy!
What changes can you expect during pregnancy?
No pregnancy is the same! There will always be surprises (both good and not so great) along the way.
Changes to your body during pregnancy may include:
- Changes in your appetite (here’s some prenatal nutrition resources for you from Health Canada!)
- Feelings of nausea
- Trouble sleeping (Get tips to help manage stress and sleep better in this recommended read available at the Toronto Public Library)
- Back pain
- Hip pain
- Bladder leakage
- Changes in emotion (Just like your pelvic health, your emotional health during pregnancy is important! Don’t wait and wonder if your feelings of sadness and low energy are going to disappear on their own. You are never alone and help is always here for you.)
- Increased risk of ab separation (diastasis recti is a scary term but common and very treatable)
That can sound like a lot all at once, but we know you can do it! Don’t worry, you are not alone. At InvigoPhysio we are here to help you navigate your prenatal journey and prepare you for your postpartum recovery.
Decreased Bladder Control
You probably hear that leakage during pregnancy is common, but it is not normal. Trouble with bladder control is usually a result of an imbalanced pelvic floor. As your baby grows inside of you, there is also a growing pressure on the pelvic floor, which can lead to muscle tension and weakness.
Getting your pelvic floor assessed will help you connect to these vital muscles and help maintaining good pelvic floor health throughout your pregnancy. Knowing how to control your pelvic floor will also prepare you for birth and a smooth postpartum recovery. At InvigoPhysio, we tailor our pelvic rehabilitation program to your needs and lifestyle so that you can fit it in your already busy life while still getting great results.
Ab separation, or diastasis recti, happens when your six-pack muscles get pulled away from each other as your abdominal stretches out to create more room for your baby. As a result of this, the linea alba, the connective tissue that connects the six-pack muscles, gets thinner and These muscles are usually connected together by connective tissue (the linea alba) and they stretch apart during pregnancy. As your belly grows bigger and bigger to accommodate your growing baby, the connective tissue grows thin.
After your baby arrives, these muscles usually go back together after 12 weeks of healing. Other times, these muscles don’t come back together on their own. This can happen because your abdominal muscles are not properly engaged.
Maybe you didn’t check in with a pelvic floor physiotherapist after your previous baby, or, you have ignored symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. Whatever the cause is, your pelvic floor will continue to suffer and it might worsen as the physical demand on you increases as you care for your newborn such as poor lifting/ carrying or breastfeeding posture
Steps can be taken before and during your pregnancy to prevent ab separation and to prepare for a natural recovery of the abdominal muscles after birth.
With pelvic floor physiotherapy you can start strengthening your pelvic floor so that your core muscles are in shape for your birth experience. This will help you to close any ab separation that happens after your birth experience. We know ab separation can be scary so we wrote a whole blog post for you!
Back and Hip Pain
As your abdominal muscles, naturally, stretch during pregnancy and lose their strength, your pelvic floor muscles come in to help stabilize your spine. But, as your baby grows and your abdominal stretches, your ab muscles weaken. When your ab muscles can’t handle their usual body responsibilities, your pelvic floor steps in to help out!
Unfortunately your pelvic floor is already feeling overworked during your pregnancy! So while your pelvic muscles are helping your spine, they are calling to your inner thigh and hip muscles for some back up!
While we love the team work (go body!), that is a lot of overtime work for muscles that are already under a lot of pressure. As your pelvic muscles rely on your thigh and hip muscles, it adds to the stress and can cause you lower back and hip pain. Learn more here.
Changes to your body during pregnancy are completely normal.
Although the above symptoms of pregnancy may seem scary, they are common and treatable. Do you have any questions? If you’re living with any of the above symptoms, or, are ready to see a pelvic physio, get in touch. We’re here in your Toronto neighbourhood to help mamas just like you!