Pelvic health is not something widely discussed, even within mom groups. Our guest blogger, Amanda Jones, a Pelvic Health Specialist, talks about 5 ways that Pelvic Health Physiotherapy can help the postpartum woman. We are excited to welcome Amanda to your upcoming February Mom & Baby Social in Orangeville as our guest speaker.
Five ways that Pelvic Health Physiotherapy can help the postpartum body:
1. Treating symptoms of incontinence
Urinary leakage associated with coughing, sneezing, physical movement, or an uncontrollable urge to void, is a common but not normal symptom that can occur during pregnancy and/or the postpartum period. It is reported that 40% of women pregnant with their first child experience urinary incontinence during pregnancy and 15% develop new symptoms after delivery. A pelvic floor physiotherapist can assess the strength and tone of the pelvic floor muscles to help treat incontinence symptoms.
2. Preventing & decreasing severity of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Women who have a pelvic organ prolapse often report a feeling of heaviness, pressure or bulging from the vagina, especially with impact activities such as jumping and jogging. Others report discomfort, friction or difficulty with intercourse or inserting a tampon. Pelvic Organ Prolapse is seen in 50% of child-bearing women. A pelvic health physiotherapist is able to assess the presence of a prolapse, and provide exercises to decrease the symptoms and severity of the prolapse. In addition, the therapist can provide education on ways to prevent a prolapse from occurring or worsening.
3. Treating pelvic girdle pain
Symptoms of pelvic pain can be vague and pain may be localized to the low back, buttock, groin, leg, lower abdominal, vaginal or vulvar regions. Women with pelvic pain may also report symptoms of constipation, pain with voiding or menstruation, or urinary frequency, urgency and hesitancy. In the postpartum woman, pelvic pain can be caused by C-section or perineal scar tissue, hormonal changes, muscle tightness and/or weakness, as well as poor posture. A Pelvic health physiotherapist can perform techniques to break up scar tissue and manage pain, as well as provide strategies and exercises to improve posture, muscle flexibility and strength.
4. Managing symptoms of sexual dysfunction
Tearing/incisions/scar tissue that occur during labour can have an impact on intercourse for the postpartum woman. It is reported that 31% of women who have had their first baby still have pain with sexual intercourse at 6 months. Often, painful intercourse results from the way the tissues have healed. Pelvic health physiotherapy can provide manual techniques and exercises to decrease scar tissue and restore the normal length and tone of the pelvic floor.
5. Providing core strengthening to ensure safe return of exercise
The pelvic floor needs to be strong enough to support the body when women begin to exercise again postpartum. Activities such as running, abdominal crunches, ‘boot camp’ drills, weight-lifting, and pilates create increased force and intra-abdominal pressure on the pelvic floor. If the pelvic floor isn’t ready for this, dysfunction such as incontinence and prolapse can be created or worsened. A pelvic health physiotherapist can assess the strength of the pelvic floor muscles, and provide core strengthening to ensure a safe return to exercise for the postpartum woman.
Thank you to our guest blogger Amanda Jones.