4 Common Postpartum Pelvic Floor Issues and How Physical Therapy Can Help

As a pelvic floor physical therapist, I’ve seen firsthand how postpartum pelvic floor issues can affect individuals after giving birth. Today, I want to shed some light on four of the most common concerns that birthing people have in their postpartum period and share with you how physical therapy can be a game-changer for your postpartum recovery.

The 4 Most Common Postpartum Pelvic Floor Problems

Welcoming a baby into the world, whether vaginally or via c-section, is a special experience, but it can also bring about some challenges, especially when it comes to your pelvic floor.

1. Urinary Incontinence
Ah, the joys of sneezing or laughing and experiencing a little leakage. It’s a common issue, but you don’t have to suffer in silence. Pelvic floor physical therapy can help you regain control over your bladder, so you can confidently go about your day without worrying about those little accidents.

And no the answer is not KEGELS! The truth is, with most patients getting urinary incontinence healed involves talks about proper hydration, muscle coordination, potential dietary modification and pressure management more than strengthening!

2. Pelvic Pain
Many new parents experience discomfort or pain in the pelvic region, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain during daily activities. Our specialized techniques can target the root causes of pelvic pain and help you find relief, so you can fully enjoy your time with your little bundle of joy.

3. Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Feeling pressure or heaviness in your pelvic area? You might be dealing with pelvic organ prolapse. This condition occurs when the pelvic organs (such as the bladder, uterus, or rectum) descend from their normal positions. If you want to self-screen before seeing a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist, you can do so using a mirror to see if something is coming into or out of your vaginal canal.

4. Diastasis Recti
During pregnancy, the abdominal muscles can separate, causing what’s known as diastasis recti. This separation can lead to a weak core, back pain, and other related issues. With targeted exercises and guidance from a pelvic floor physical therapist, you can safely and effectively regain your core strength and stability.

NOTE: As a reminder, each person’s postpartum journey is unique, and while these are some of the most common issues postpartum birthing people experience, these are not the only problems you might encounter.

How Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Helps with Postpartum

Whether you’re experiencing urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, organ prolapse, diastasis recti, or simply want to optimize your recovery, consulting with a pelvic floor physical therapist can make a significant difference. Let’s dive into how pelvic floor physical therapy can help you restore your health and help with more comfortable healing:

1. Restoring Pelvic Floor Strength
Pregnancy and childbirth put significant strain on your pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor physical therapy focuses on exercises and techniques specifically designed to strengthen and tone these muscles, helping you regain their optimal function. By doing so, you can improve bladder control, support your pelvic organs, and even enhance sexual satisfaction.

2. Addressing Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is a common issue for many individuals after giving birth. Pelvic floor physical therapy offers targeted exercises and strategies to address urinary incontinence, helping you regain control over your bladder. With the right guidance, you can significantly reduce or even eliminate those unwanted leaks and enjoy activities without worrying about accidents.

3. Alleviating Pelvic Pain
Postpartum pelvic pain is another concern that can affect your daily life. Pelvic floor physical therapy involves a comprehensive evaluation to identify the underlying causes of your pain. Through manual therapy techniques, stretches, and exercises, your physical therapist can help reduce pain, restore muscle balance, and improve overall pelvic joint function.

4. Managing Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the pelvic organs, such as the bladder, uterus, or rectum, descend from their normal positions. Pelvic floor physical therapy provides you with tools to manage and potentially improve prolapse symptoms. Your therapist will guide you through exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor, offer lifestyle modifications, and educate you on proper body mechanics to minimize discomfort and support your organs.

5. Healing Diastasis Recti
Diastasis recti is the separation of the abdominal muscles that can occur during pregnancy. Pelvic floor physical therapy plays a vital role in addressing this condition by providing exercises and techniques that help close the gap between the muscles. By rehabilitating the core muscles, you can improve core strength, stability, and alleviate associated back pain.

Pregnancy, Postpartum, and Gender Identity

Open communication is key when working with any healthcare professional, including your OB/GYN and Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist. Don’t hesitate to discuss your gender identity, pronouns, and any concerns or goals you have related to your pelvic health. A supportive healthcare team will listen to your unique needs and tailor their approach to ensure you feel comfortable and respected during your sessions.

For some transgender and nonbinary individuals, pelvic examinations, like those often recommended pre-partum, pregnancy, and postpartum treatment, can trigger feelings of dysphoria or discomfort. It’s important to also have an open dialogue with your therapist about your specific needs and boundaries so they can help you navigate any potential triggers, offer alternative approaches, or modify techniques to ensure your comfort and emotional well-being.

Ready to treat your postpartum pelvic floor struggles? Let’s chat!

Now that we’ve discussed some common postpartum pelvic floor issues, you might be wondering how to take the next steps toward resolving them. Let’s work together! You can either book a virtual session or in-person session to receive a specialized, unique-to-you treatment plan to get the healing you need.

During our sessions, we’ll work together to create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs. I’ll guide you through exercises, educate you on proper techniques, and provide you with the tools and resources to continue your progress outside of our sessions. I always strive to create a safe and comfortable environment for my patients to ask questions, share concerns, and receive the care they need.

Looking for additional resources on pelvic health? My YouTube channel holds dozens of videos where I offer free pelvic floor training, yoga exercises, and more. My instagram page takes a little bit more of a light hearted approach while still providing educational content. And of course, if you have a specific pelvic floor subject you’re looking for more information on, a quick search of my blogs may give you the answers you need.

Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. Laura Meihofer’s LLC is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program and others, as an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products Laura organically uses and trusts. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same, but Laura will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps her spread her message!

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Consult a healthcare provider for personalized guidance and treatment options specific to your needs.

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