Many women can experience pelvic floor weakness after pregnancy and childbirth. The pelvic floor is a series of muscles that help to provide support for your lower abdomen, namely you bladder, bowels, and uterus. During pregnancy and childbirth, these muscles can become stretched or weakened (or in some cases, they can be too tight), so they don't provide the support they should. As a result, you can have trouble with incontinence, especially if you have had several pregnancies. This article will give you some information on how to help your body recover.
Tightening and Strengthening
As soon as your doctor says it is okay, begin an active lifestyle again. Don't jump right into high intensity exercise, as this can be hard on a weakened pelvic floor. But you can begin walking. When you walk, consciously flex your lower muscles as if you were trying to hold back on going to the restroom. Flex for several seconds, and then release. Do several of these as you walk. You can do these exercises anywhere: the grocery store as you shop, or when you walk around to calm your baby during a fussy episode at night.
Some women can experience pelvic floor problems when the muscles become too tense. When your pelvic floor muscles are tight, you can still experience unpleasant symptoms. For example, you might find it hard to defecate without pain. After you begin having sexual intercourse again, the experience can be painful or very uncomfortable. Women with overactive pelvic floor muscles can also have trouble inserting a menstrual cup or a tampon because of the pressure of the tense muscles.
Tight pelvic floor muscles are caused by a response to other pain. For example, after childbirth, you may have tearing or stitches. You might also tense your body when your baby latches on to breastfeed or when you experience cramping from your uterus returning to the correct size. That tension is what leads to constant overactivity in the pelvic floor.
To reduce the impact of this problem, you need to concentrate on fully relaxing the pelvic floor. You might lie on your back to take the pressure off the muscles, and then tense the muscles briefly, then fully relax the area to the best of your ability. Relax for as long as you possibly can before going back to normal. Tense briefly again, and then do a long slow relax as you blow air through your mouth. Keep your lips loose to help your body stay relaxed during the exercise.
For more information and help, work with a doctor at a local clinic like Proactive Pelvic Health Centre.