As a physiotherapist you treat a great range of people of all ages and background. One thing that has amazed me the most is how common pelvic floor issues are for women at all ages. This could be prolapse, incontinence issues etc.
The one thing that was common is a great deal of these ladies were not educated regarding the importance of pelvic floor strengthening and management prior and post delivering their children.
Education is so important! The amount of pressure the pelvic floor endures is crazy when there is a baby inside. If you think about it the muscles are what hold them in and you need these muscles to be nice and strong.
I have had patients that believe they know what a pelvic floor contraction is but they do the technique wrong- holding their breath and bearing down!
The best way to ensure you are doing the right contraction is to go see a qualified women’s health Physiotherapist. They will educate you and assess you to tell you if you are doing your pelvic floor exercises correctly and help you improve them.
Your muscles such as your quads tear when they are stretched at 150% of their normal length. When you give birth naturally your muscles are stretched over 200% of their normal length (all depends on the size of the baby)!! So the right preparation is required but just as importantly the right rehab is necessary.
Being checked by a women’s health Physio and doing pelvic floor contractions is what is needed to prevent prolapsed and problems in years to come.
6 weeks post baby is what the Dr says before exercise but this exercise should be Pilates, gentle walking etc. NO running, heavy weight lifting and jumping! Your pelvic floor is not ready for this at all.
If you have had tears and all those muscles stretched: 3 months is the recommended time and still you need to get the all clear from your Physio.
If you have had a c-section or a natural delivery, your tummy muscles need to be checked for Rectus Diastasis (separation of tummy muscles) again a Physio does this at your 6 week check up and can provide you with the correct core strengthening exercises.Curl ups, sit up etc are the worst for this issues and most women experience some form of separation
Basic message: PELVIC FLOOR STRENGTH IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! Best place to learn this is off a women’s health physiotherapist.
Rectus Diastasis happens and it is very important to be guided to the right type of exercise to avoid tummy and back issues down the track again a Physio is the place to go.
It is never ever too late to start these exercises and get help. We have helped ladies in the 60’s with these issues.
The best thing to do is try and prevent these issues but help is out there. Make sure you see a Women’s Health Physio.
Guest Blog @ Relaxed Parenting by A Physiotherpist, Australia