The Importance of Seeing a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist After Giving Birth
The journey of pregnancy and childbirth is an incredible experience that brings joy and fulfilment to many women. However, it’s also a time of immense change for the body, particularly the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles play a crucial role in supporting the bladder, uterus, and bowels, and their health can be significantly impacted during pregnancy and childbirth. That’s why considering a visit to a pelvic floor physiotherapist postpartum can be immensely beneficial for your overall well-being.
Understanding the Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles, ligaments, and tissues that form a supportive sling at the base of the pelvis. Throughout pregnancy, these muscles undergo considerable stress due to the weight of the growing uterus and the hormonal changes that affect their elasticity. During childbirth, these muscles stretch to accommodate the baby’s passage, leading to potential trauma, weakening, or even tearing.
Common Issues Postpartum
After giving birth, many women experience a range of pelvic floor issues that can impact their quality of life. Some common issues include:
- Urinary Incontinence: This is the involuntary leakage of urine, which can occur when coughing, sneezing, laughing, or even during physical activities. It’s a prevalent concern for many women postpartum due to the strain placed on the pelvic floor during pregnancy and childbirth.
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Pregnancy and childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leading to a condition where one or more pelvic organs (such as the bladder, uterus, or rectum) shift from their normal positions and bulge into the vaginal canal. This can cause discomfort, pressure, and a feeling of “heaviness.”
- Sexual Dysfunction: Trauma during childbirth can lead to pain during sexual intercourse. Additionally, changes in pelvic floor muscle tone can affect sexual sensation and satisfaction.
- Pelvic Pain: Some women experience pelvic pain postpartum due to muscle imbalances, scar tissue, or nerve issues. This pain can impact daily activities and overall well-being.
The Role of a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
A pelvic floor physiotherapist specialises in assessing and treating issues related to the pelvic floor. These professionals have expertise in understanding the intricate musculature of the pelvic area and can offer tailored treatment plans to address individual needs. Here’s how they can help:
- Assessment: A pelvic floor physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment to identify any muscle imbalances, weaknesses, or areas of tension. This assessment may involve both internal and external examinations.
- Education: They will educate you about the anatomy and function of the pelvic floor, how childbirth might have impacted it, and steps you can take to aid recovery and prevent future issues.
- Exercises: Pelvic floor physiotherapists prescribe specific exercises to strengthen and rehabilitate the pelvic floor muscles. These exercises can be tailored to your unique needs and can help with issues like incontinence, prolapse, and pain.
- Manual Therapy: Some techniques involve hands-on therapy to release tension, improve circulation, and promote healing of scar tissue.
- Behavioural Strategies: They can guide you on lifestyle adjustments, like proper posture, lifting techniques, and bladder habits, to minimise strain on the pelvic floor.
The journey of motherhood is undoubtedly transformative, and it’s important to prioritise your own health and well-being as you adjust to the changes postpartum. Seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist can be a proactive step in ensuring that you regain strength, function, and comfort in your pelvic area. By addressing pelvic floor issues early on, you can enhance your overall quality of life and fully embrace the joys of motherhood. You can book your initial postnatal physiotherapy consultation at Agility Physiotherapy and Pilates PH 38622322
Written By Karen Jamieson
Physiotherapist – Special Interest in Pelvic / Women’s Health