When you’re pregnant, lots of people say “Congratulations,” or “That is so exciting,” and both of these are true, but has anyone ever said “Congratulations and are you taking care of your pelvic floor?” Probably not, but I may be starting a new trend. I had the honor of meeting a customer in person last week and she is newly pregnant. After spending a few minutes congratulating her and asking her how she was feeling, I then said, “hey, I’ve got this side passion and I’m not trying to be a downer, but I want to share some information, take care of your pelvic floor now so you know how to care for it during birth and postpartum.”
The customer seemed to take it in stride and be appreciative of the information and I hope it makes a difference for her and her birthing experience. After testifying last week in front of Maine legislators, I feel an increased need to spread the word about pelvic floor health and care. Keep in mind, I’m not a doctor, I’m just a mom who has struggled with urinary incontinence and done quite a bit of research on the topic. I have a real desire to spread the word so that pregnant Mamas have as much information as possible while pregnant and before childbirth.
So what is your pelvic floor?
“The pelvic floor is a 'sling' of muscles, a bit like a small muscle hammock that runs between the pubic bone in the front, and the tailbone at the back.
A woman’s pelvic floor muscles support her womb (uterus), bladder, and bowel (colon). The urine tube (urethra), the vagina, and the anus all pass through the pelvic floor muscles.” (see footnote for resources)
So NOW it makes total sense why these are important to know about during pregnancy and birth right? I had two births and never even knew I had a pelvic floor, EVER, until after the birth of my 2nd and last child, when I suffered miserably with urinary incontinence. So if you’re reading this blog what can you do to help yourself?
- See a pelvic floor physical therapist during pregnancy. (if you’re reading this and your postpartum but do have issues, it’s not too late, you can still get effective help) Unfortunately, many insurance plans won’t cover this type of physical therapy, and so you may have to pay out of pocket for care.
- Read and research about this area of your body and if you cannot afford out of pocket care to see a therapist, you can still do effective things to help yourself. The article I’ve footnoted below is a great place to start and has links to a lot more resources.
- Learn breathing techniques that help you to relax your pelvic floor, many of us have a tense or tight pelvic floor. I’m not a doctor, but a deep breath should cause your abdomen to expand and the abdomen will contract as you exhale. Deep breathing helps relax your pelvic floor, is good for childbirth and overall stress reduction in our everyday lives.
- You’ll find a lot of accounts on Instagram that are talking about pelvic floor issues, I really like: @roottorisept and @the.vagina.whiperer (and there are other great accounts as well)
- Follow @restorethefloor on Instagram, this is a grassroots organization(that I’m part of) aimed at providing free resources and information.
Here’s to a healthy you and your pelvic floor!
“How to find and exercise your pelvic floor muscles” https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/find-exercise-pelvic-floor-women-men