How to think about your pelvic floor postpartum. Reconnecting to your pelvic floor postpartum is so important.
Whether a c-section or vaginal delivery, your body has changed through pregnancy, delivery and now postpartum. It’s important to allow the body to heal and rest. However, that doesn’t mean don’t do anything.
3 Things you should do to reconnect to your pelvic floor postpartum:
Begin with diaphragmatic breathing again. Return to the basics. There are so many benefits to diaphragmatic breathing. You begin to feel the movement of your pelvic floor again. Inhale and feel the pelvic floor expand or blossom like a flower. Exhale and feel it recoil or return to the resting place. Also, feel your ribs expand as you inhale. It’s incredible, you have movement again.
When do I do diaphragmatic breathing?
- When you wake up
- During each time you feed your baby.
- When you lay down to take a nap.
- Anytime you need to pause and take a breather in your day.
Lightly begin to zip up again, prior to any prior activity such as standing up or lifting the baby or getting out of bed. These activities could cause pressure out in the abdominal or down on the pelvic floor. Managing this intra-abdominal pressure can be done be starting to turn on your core.
How? Like zipping up a pair of jeans. Can you stop and coordinate pelvic floor and lower abdominals (deep abdominal muscles called transverse abdominus) with your breathing? Inhale, exhale and then zip up with your pelvic floor and abdominals. Think about lifting your pubic bone up. This is not sucking in your belly button.
You are awakening your core and pelvic floor postpartum in a gentle way.
Be aware of pressure. Are you bulging out on the abdominal area or bearing down in the pelvic floor. If you feel this pressure, zip up prior to standing or lifting. If this is confusing, reach out and let’s set up a time to chat. I would love to clarify this with you!
Connect to your pelvic floor during bowel movements.
Breathe, exhale, blow out as you poop. Feel the pelvic floor lengthen? After delivery it can be scary to poop, but here are some things to remember:
Avoid bearing down or straining.
Don’t hold your breath and close your throat.
Make a fist and blow air through the center of your fist. Use a squatty potty to also relax the pelvic floor muscles.
Connecting to your pelvic floor in postpartum is the first step before strengthening can be addressed.
Heather Marra, PT
3 things you shouldn’t do in the first 6 weeks postpartum:
Managing the intra abdominal pressure is so important. The muscles are weak, they need time to heal, even 3-6 months. Attempting to complete sit ups could put you at risk for increasing diastasis recti (separation of the rectus abdominus muscles) or pelvic organ prolapse (dropping of the uterus, rectum or bladder towards the vaginal opening). Focus on Zipping up with your daily movements.
The pelvic girdle and pelvic muscles need to rest and heal as well. There are tissues that need 6 weeks to heal, whether from vaginal delivery or c-section.
The heavy impact of running with downward pressure on the pelvic floor is too much in the first 6 weeks postpartum. Actually, it is very beneficial to wait until 12 weeks postpartum before returning to running. Many women have felt really good and begun running too early. The result is often regrets with symptoms of incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse beginning.
Take the time to reconnect to your pelvic floor postpartum. Move, walk, but be aware of the pressure on your abdominal wall and pelvic floor.
Remember, it’s also helpful to see a pelvic floor physical therapist for a full assessment of your pelvic floor, abdominal muscles and scar tissue. At your 6 week postpartum visit with your doctor, ask for a referral.