Every postpartum person needs access to a pelvic health physical therapist. While it is becoming more normal to talk about pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD), thousands of women still think peeing when you sneeze, laugh, or jump is “normal.” I refer to this as a silent epidemic of women thinking that because they are a certain age, have had children and/or were born female, suffering from PFD is normal. Common does not equal normal.
In my lifetime, I hope the Functional Progression and a visit to a Pelvic Health PT become as common as the kegel. If this is the first time you are hearing kegels can actually do more harm than good, I am glad you are here.
The pelvic floor is an intricate system of muscle layers. It is a direct part of your core and an important part of your quality of life from sexual function to holding and supporting the organs of the pelvis.
We often associate PFD with too little activation or weakness in the pelvic floor. Actually, pelvic floor dysfunction can occur due to too much activation, too little activation, or both, in the same pelvic floor! In fact, the most important tool for pelvic floor function is the ability to relax your pelvic floor. Only from a relaxed state can you learn to appropriately activate.
Your brain will QUICKLY learn to protect if there is any leaking of urine and automatically start to signal the need to contract and try to “hold in” the urine. This is how too little activation can quickly lead to too much. If you add a kegel to an already overactive pelvic floor, it makes the problem worse.
A visit with a pelvic health physical therapy trained in internal pelvic floor work will give you information on what your pelvic floor needs to safely return to exercise postpartum. Therein lies the potential to build a stronger foundation than ever before all while decreasing risk of chronic pelvic floor dysfunction.
Erica Boland, DC