Do you have Oooops moments?
Wait! This is too subtle.
We need to shout and yell the question.
Do you wee yourself when you move suddenly, cough, laugh, jump or sneeze? Let’s take it further? Do you pass wind or even poo when you move suddenly, cough, laugh, jump or sneeze?
Personal questions I know but they need to be asked.
We are all led to believe that it’s normal to wee yourself occasionally and that it’s even something to expect after having a baby BUT IT’S NOT NORMAL. We are led to believe that sometimes it gets better if you’re lucky and sometimes it doesn’t and that’s just something you then have to live with.
IT IS NOT NORMAL! IT IS NOT TO BE EXPECTED AND IN MOST CASES IT CAN BE RECTIFIED.
If you jump, sneeze, cough, laugh, move suddenly you should not have to “prepare yourself”, your pelvic floor should be able to step up to the mark without even thinking about it. You want to be able to run and jump and laugh with your little ones without worrying about wetting yourself or even giving it a second thought.
Sooooooo what do we do about it?
Hundreds of kegels????? The squeeze and release of your pelvic floor that your midwife and GP gives you?
No! No! No! Nooooooooooo!
Kegels are great initially as post birth they get the initial connection going again. If you continue doing them you will end up with an overactive pelvic floor which will also make you leak. Yes you heard correctly. A pelvic floor that is too tight is a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction just as much as one that is weak and you get some of the same symptoms.
Ok lets take a step back and work out exactly what the pelvic floor is.
Basically it’s a hammock or sling of muscle fibres and connective tissue and nerves that supports your bladder, your uterus and your bowel. Your urethra (where the wee comes out), your vagina (where your baby comes out) and your anus (where the poo comes out) are all surrounded by your pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor is attached to your pubic bone at the front and your coccyx (tail bone) at the back and they span across your sitting bones too.
During pregnancy the weight of the baby and size of the baby push your bladder and rectum out of the way and of course enlarge your uterus all of which put huge pressure on your pelvic floor. During labour pushing causes huge pressure on your pelvic floor and then when the baby crowns during a normal birth the pelvic floor muscles, fascia and nerves are stretched to the fullest to allow the baby passage through. During a normal delivery your pelvic floor can be damaged especially with a prolonged pushing stage. This damage and trauma is increased hugely with an assisted birth using ventouse or forceps.
Right so we know all about what the pelvic floor is now and where you find it. So when you activate or lift your pelvic floor you are aiming to pull your pubic bone and coccyx closer together and lift your pelvic floor up inside of you. This is basically what kegels are.
Ok so after giving birth we expect everything to go back to its correct place. If we can activate our pelvic floor we do our kegels as we’re told to. We still leak a bit but “hey that’s normal” so we do a few more kegels and then more etc etc but don’t actually get it investigated further. If we can’t activate our pelvic floor we again just believe “hey that’s normal” and often joke “I don’t have a pelvic floor” and again don’t seek further investigation. So weak or strong our pelvic floor is still not working optimally.
Let’s go back again to what our pelvic floor is supporting – bladder, uterus and bowel and it surrounds our urethra, vagina and rectum so helps assists passage of urine and faeces. So if our pelvic floor isn’t working properly it means it’s not supporting these structures and organs properly. Add in incorrect breathing and poor posture – again a totally normal but correctable result of pregnancy. Couple this with incorrect breathing during exercise so you’re actually bearing down on your pelvic floor and Inappropriate exercise – so anything that makes you leak, pass wind or faeces or gives you a heavy dragging feeling in your lower stomach or bottom or anything that causes you to feel a bulging down below. If you put continued repeated pressure on a dysfunctional pelvic floor you are in danger of developing a prolapse of bladder, vagina or rectum. It won’t just suddenly go away or get better.
Scary stuff hey?
Is this you??
If it is visit your GP asap . Get a referral to a woman’s Health Physio straight away. Speed up the process and book an immediate appointment with a specialist private woman’s Health Physio. It is far easier to correct a small issue using simple exercises than one that we’ve ignored and may end up needing surgery.
With regards to exercise it’s super important to find a post-natal exercise specialist. It’s super important to really listen to your body at all times. Within Buggy Bootcamp Bedford I always offer all levels of exercise but you have to keep yourself safe. You have to listen to your body at all times. Be mindful when you do anything that involves any impact – running, jumping, skipping, star jumps etc. When moving if you experience any leaking, or it makes you pass wind or faeces or you feel a low dragging sensation or bulging STOP immediately and let me know. Breathing correctly during strength work is imperative so you don’t bear down on your pelvic floor. At Buggy Bootcamp you learn how to make your exhale work so that you are activating your core and your pelvic floor (remember those kegels) as one automatically, not working against it all. This all needs to become a habit that we carry over into everyday life when we’re lifting, pushing, squatting, lunging, jumping, bending, twisting etc and doing all of it with a baby or toddler or child in tow often pulling us in the other direction!
The cells of your body, therefore all of your tissues including your core and pelvic floor, are constantly being renewed which means by doing the correct restorative exercises and including brilliant nutrition you can really help yourself to restore your core and pelvic floor health and by keeping these good habits you will maintain your pelvic floor health. Mirroring this if you keep doing things that make you leak etc and couple this with poor nutrition those tissues will actually get weaker and weaker. This means that if even if our pelvic floor is ok now it can weaken with poor posture, poor breathing technique both in rest and during exercise, poor lifting technique, smoking, poor nutrition or even a really bad prolonged cough.
The long and the short of it is that if something about your body feels wrong or different then it probably is. You know your body better than anyone. You know what is normal for you and just because you have had a baby (however many years ago) doesn’t mean that you should learn to accept a new normal. Seek help to restore your own ‘normal’ whatever that is.
I know it’s personal but don’t put up with it SPEAK UP ABOUT IT!