Postpartum Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

Experience the relief and support you deserve with our postpartum pelvic floor physiotherapy. From addressing pelvic floor weakness to diastasis rectus abdominis, we’re here to guide you towards a smoother, pain-free recovery. 

Congratulations! You’ve just given birth to your bundle of joy! The journey from pre-pregnancy to childbirth comes with challenges, especially related to the pelvis. Embarking on the journey of postpartum life is like entering a whole new world of sensations and changes, especially if you’re a first-time parent. Your body has achieved the impressive feat of producing a human! It has been hard at work growing and supporting your baby’s growth, particularly your pelvic floor, which has endured so much. Now, it is time to start your recovery journey.

Various changes to the body can occur during pregnancy, including increased pressure on the back, hips, and pelvis. At InvigoPhysio, we believe in the importance of postpartum pelvic care and recognize that it is often overlooked. So stay with us as we dive into every aspect of pelvic floor care after birth!

Postpartum Recovery: why Pelvic Physiotherapy is vital

Postpartum life is very much focused on recovery – it can take up to a year or more for your body to fully recover from pregnancy and childbirth. Various factors, such as the type of delivery and your overall health, can play a crucial role in how you recover.

One of the most critical aspects of this healing process is the recovery of your pelvic floor. It is crucial for women’s overall well-being and quality of life after childbirth.

Pregnancy and childbirth (whether through cesarean or natural vaginal delivery) can place a tremendous amount of pressure and strain on the muscles in your pelvic area. The pressure and strain can lead to potential issues such as pelvic pain, urinary and bowel incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse. However, it is treatable with pelvic floor physiotherapy. Your pelvic physiotherapist will help you address the most pressing issues unique to your needs. By ensuring your pelvic floor recovers appropriately, you can also prevent long-term complications.

Empower yourself for motherhood with an improved pelvic floor. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, gaining better control over bladder and bowel functions, and enhancing your pelvic health are all benefits you can expect from pelvic floor physiotherapy. This will ensure a smoother, well-supported journey into motherhood.

In a nutshell, what is the Pelvic Floor?

The pelvic floor is a tight network of muscles, connective tissues, and ligaments located at the base of the pelvis. It supports organs such as the bladder, uterus, and rectum. It serves as a critical support system for the body, playing a vital role in maintaining bladder and bowel continence, supporting pelvic organs, and healthy sexual function.

The pelvic floor plays a crucial role in core stability and maintaining optimal posture. Given its significance during pregnancy and postpartum, prioritizing recovery is vital. Ensuring pelvic floor health is essential for overall well-being, contributing to optimal vitality and quality of life.

Understanding the Pelvic Floor Postpartum

Pregnancy and childbirth are journeys that put a lot of pressure and strain on these versatile muscles and tissues: hormonal and physical changes and the baby’s growing weight place immense pressure on the pelvic floor.

These changes often lead to stretching and weakening of these muscles. The process of childbirth places further stress on the pelvic floor, which can potentially result in postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction.

Hormonal Changes

During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin produced in the placenta loosens ligaments and joints in the pelvis and cervix to prepare for childbirth.

Relaxins promote flexibility in the pelvis, necessitating increased effort from the pelvic floor to stabilize the pelvic area, including the hip joint. Consequently, this can lead to pelvic floor hypertonicity and dysfunction.

Physical Changes

The growing baby’s weight and uterus can also put pressure on the pelvic floor, creating tension and weakening the muscles over time.

After childbirth, the pelvic floor may be injured via physical birth trauma, especially during vaginal delivery. The risk of pelvic floor issues is higher if you’ve had a particularly large baby, prolonged labor, birth interventions such as forceps or vacuum delivery, or episiotomy. This can result in tearing or impaired sensation in the pelvic floor muscles.

Physical Changes post Cesarean Birth

Postpartum pelvic rehabilitation is vital even if you have had a c-section for many reasons.

Following a Cesarean birth, the pelvic floor often becomes tense and hypertonic, eventually resulting in weakness. This may lead to discomfort or tension during sexual activity and possible pelvic floor weakness.

It is essential to be aware that C-sections involve pulling the abdominal muscles apart, which may result in weakness and instability in the core. This can also impact the pelvic floor muscles, as they work together with the abdominal muscles to provide support and stability to the pelvis.

Scar tissue formation is typical after a C-section and can impact the mobility and flexibility of tissues and organs in the pelvic region. It may also lead to symptoms such as pain, itching, and numbness in the scar area while placing pressure and increasing tension on the pelvic floor muscles.

Whether you have experienced a Cesarean birth or natural birth, the changes in your pelvic area can lead to several pelvic floor disorders. If left untreated, they can impact your quality of life and overall well-being, potentially resulting in long-term complications. Taking care of the pelvic floor is crucial, especially after pregnancy.

Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Pelvic Conditions

Postpartum brings with it a myriad of pelvic conditions that can significantly impact a woman’s daily life and overall well-being.

Among these conditions are:

  • Urinary or fecal incontinence, characterized by involuntary urinary or stool leakage, which can lead to embarrassment and discomfort and affect your ability to maintain a social life.
  • Perineal scar pain due to tears in the perineum can lead to discomfort during daily physical activities and intercourse. It can reduce mobility and take the enjoyment out of intimate relationships.
  • Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition in which the pelvic organs descend into the vaginal canal due to weakened support, can cause discomfort and pressure and may even interfere with normal bowel and bladder function.
  • Diastasis recti occurs when the abdominal muscles become stretched, often during pregnancy or childbirth. This condition can affect physical appearance and core stability, leading to lower back and hip pain. You can learn more about diastasis recti rehab here.
  • Lower back and hip pain, resulting from an imbalanced pelvic floor and core muscles, can create mobility challenges and significantly impact daily life. Additionally, pelvic girdle pain (PGP), characterized by discomfort in the pelvic area during pregnancy, can linger into postpartum life if not treated timely.
  • Tailbone pain—Also known as coccydynia, it is a painful symptom in the coccyx area. It can cause pain when sitting and often worsens with physical activities such as sitting down, having a bowel movement, or sexual activities. Tailbone pain can also lead to discomfort in the perineal area, pelvic pressure, and difficulty with movement and sitting. It is typically caused by trauma to the coccyx during childbirth or other incidents such as falling onto the buttocks

Common Postpartum Pelvic Conditions

One of the things to consider is that the goal of physio is not to give you super pelvic-floor muscle strength – instead, it is to create balance in the pelvic muscle groups.

  • Recovery Support: Postpartum pelvic physiotherapy provides holistic support during the crucial recovery phase after childbirth. Our specialized approach not only aids physical healing but also addresses emotional well-being, educates on optimal movement patterns, and guides you toward a stronger, more resilient postpartum body.
  • Pain Management: Postpartum pelvic physiotherapy effectively manages pain related to pelvic floor dysfunction through tailored treatments like manual therapy and exercises, providing relief from discomfort and related pains.
  • Pelvic floor Balancing: Prioritizing pelvic floor balance over sheer strength yields better results. Begin by releasing tension in the pelvic floor, then gradually strengthen it. Unfortunately, many individuals solely focus on strengthening, inadvertently exacerbating their symptoms.
  • Core Strength: At InvigoPhysio, we emphasize simultaneous deep core strengthening alongside pelvic floor retraining. This approach enhances posture, alignment, and pelvic floor function while promoting lower back and pelvis stability. These long-term benefits are particularly valuable if you’re considering having more children.
  • Enhanced Overall Well-being: Specific breathing exercises and therapies can enhance pelvic health, leading to improved confidence, reduced stress, and a better quality of life after childbirth.
  • Empowerment through Tools and Resources: We believe that knowledge is power. Understanding and learning more about the conditions that can affect you will empower you to manage it effectively and recognize signs that things are not going in the right direction, fostering a deeper connection with your body.

Whether you’ve undergone a vaginal delivery or a cesarean birth, your well-being is crucial. Recognizing that you don’t have to endure unnecessary discomfort with appropriate treatments is essential.

The InvigoPhysio Approach to Pelvic Physiotherapy

At InvigoPhysio, our postpartum pelvic floor physiotherapy approach revolves around personalized care tailored to your specific needs, goals, and overall health. Here’s what you can expect from our specialized care:

Assessment and Initial Consultation

We conduct a thorough assessment to understand your symptoms, medical history, and after-birth concerns.

The initial assessment may include tests to evaluate your posture, body alignment, functional movements, assessment of diastasis recti, and muscle activation and strength of the core abdominals and surrounding pelvic muscles.

The external pelvic floor exam will include observation of the vulvar area and perineal scar. With your consent, the internal exam will evaluate the mobility, strength, and coordination of your pelvic floor muscles. 

Curious about what to expect during your first pelvic physiotherapy assessment? Learn more here.

Treatment Plan Tailored to Your Needs

After your assessment and thorough consultation, we collaborate with you to create a personalized treatment plan that aligns with your specific needs, activity goals, and overall health.

Our approach recognizes that every individual’s postnatal recovery is unique, and we strive to tailor our interventions accordingly.

Your treatment plan may encompass a variety of therapies, including pelvic floor exercises, manual therapy techniques, acupuncture, K-taping, and a blend of yoga, pilates, and conditioning exercises meticulously selected to address your concerns and optimize pelvic health.

Our priority is to empower you with education and guidance, ensuring you are equipped with the knowledge and tools to actively participate in your recovery journey.

Whether you seek to alleviate discomfort, resolve bladder leakage, or resume running or weight-lifting safely, our comprehensive treatment plan is designed to support you in achieving your postpartum recovery goals.

Therapies Offered

Individualized pelvic floor exercise program is meticulously designed to strengthen and restore optimal function to the pelvic floor muscles, addressing issues such as urinary or bowel leakage, pelvic organ prolapse, and sexual dysfunction.

Manual therapy encompasses a range of hands-on techniques aimed at alleviating pain and discomfort, manual therapy offers relief and support throughout the prenatal and postnatal stages by improving blood flow and optimizing muscle function in the pelvic area..

In addition to pelvic floor exercises and manual therapy, we offer a variety of supplementary therapies tailored to individual needs. These may include acupuncture, which targets specific points to release muscle tension and promote healing, and K-taping to support and stabilize affected areas, ultimately restoring optimal biomechanics and functionality.

Education and guidance are integral components of our approach, empowering individuals with knowledge and resources to better understand their condition and make informed decisions about their recovery journey. Our team provides personalized advice and strategies to support ongoing pelvic health and overall well-being.

Furthermore, our Pilates and yoga-based exercise programs are crafted to augment therapeutic interventions, enhancing overall mobility and pelvic muscle strength while alleviating pain. These programs are tailored to enhance mobility and function, aiding you in achieving your postpartum recovery goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, definitely! You can minimize the risks and severity by working with a pelvic floor physical therapist during pregnancy.

It is recommended to consider postpartum pelvic physiotherapy if you experience symptoms such as urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, or discomfort during intercourse. If you feel like you can benefit from seeing a pelvic physiotherapist, speak to your primary care physician or your OBGYN for the all-clear after birth. The usual is six weeks postpartum or as early as four weeks post-cesarean birth.

Postpartum pelvic physiotherapy is recommended for all mothers. Although you may not experience symptoms immediately, studies indicate that issues can develop over time. Taking preventive measures is simpler than addressing problems later.

We can offer education, preventive strategies, and exercises to enhance pelvic well-being after childbirth and in the long term.

The timeline for seeing results from postpartum pelvic physiotherapy varies for each individual, depending on factors such as the severity of your symptoms, consistency with exercises, and adherence to treatment plans. Some women may need 6-8 bi-weekly sessions, while others may require a little more time for noticeable changes. Consistency and patience are essential to achieving optimal results.

Absolutely! During childbirth – whether a natural vaginal delivery or Caesarean birth, the abdominal and pelvic muscles work overtime during your pregnancy to ensure that your baby grows perfectly and is tucked away safely in your belly. If you have had a C-section, you can still benefit from pelvic floor therapy.

Pelvic floor physiotherapy can help in reducing pain and swelling, improve circulation and tissue healing, and strengthen the core and pelvic floor muscles. Additionally, it can aid in better overall postpartum recovery.

Book a Physiotherapy Appointment

Take the first step towards a healthier postpartum recovery journey with InvigoPhysio today.

Prioritize your postpartum well-being.

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