Pre/Post Natal Pelvic Floor Health … How Important is it?

Many women take care of their bodies during their pregnancies; they watch what they eat, they try and use environmentally friendly products and they exercise regularly. But they oftentimes don’t think about including the pelvic floor area in their health regime. When someone has tight or sore muscles, they might stretch or see a health care practitioner for some relief. But when the pelvic floor area experiences a problem, it doesn’t seem as important and is often put off … sometimes for years.

The pelvic floor is an area that needs more preventative attention paid to it!

Where is the Pelvic Floor?

Pelvic Floor Muscles
Pelvic Floor Muscles

This picture shows how the pelvic floor muscles reach between your tailbone and your pubic bone and lie between your sit bones. They help support your pelvis to keep it in good alignment.  Because your pelvis sits between your upper and lower body, it needs to be able to disperse the forces that travel through this area on a daily basis. Your pelvic floor muscles:

  • help support the alignment of your pelvis, sacrum, hip and low back
  • help keep your bladder, uterus and rectum where they belong
  • help keep you continent
  • help with sexual function

Your pelvic floor’s workload will increase during your pre/post natal period. If you are having any problems such as leaking or pain with intercourse, then having someone check your pelvic floor is important.  If you are planning for a pregnancy in the near future, have a pelvic floor physiotherapist check your pelvic floor muscles to make sure they are in optimum condition to better support you during your pregnancy. Once pregnant, you can still have a pelvic floor assessment, though not always internally, to ensure that you are able to contract your muscles correctly. Ideally, six to twelve weeks following the birth of your baby is another time to have a pelvic floor assessment to help with any lingering problems.

What sort of problems might happen?

Most common is the involuntary leakage of urine.  This might happen with a sneeze or cough, lifting something heavy, running, etc.  This is known as a stress urinary incontinence…when the stress placed on the pelvic floor muscles is too great and they are unable to control the bladder from leaking. Urge incontinence is when there is an uncontrollable need to urinate even when the bladder isn’t full. It is quite common for someone to experience both of these.

Weak and/or tight muscles within the pelvic floor often play a role.  Strengthening and lengthening the muscles as well as learning some different bladder/bowel habits and possibly making some dietary changes are all part of restoring the pelvic floor.

Because there isn’t necessarily any pain associated with incontinence, it is often not taken seriously.  However, your body is telling you that something is no longer working the way it should.  The pelvic floor muscles have weakened and they are no longer able to support the bladder properly.  Without help, this problem will continue and considering the pelvic floor also supports your rectum and your uterus, all of these organs are now at risk for prolapsing.

The pelvic floor is like any other part of the body; if it isn’t taken care of, it will weaken and tighten and continue to cause problems. The good news is there is lots that you can do!  Learning how to properly activate as well as release your pelvic floor muscles will help make for a smoother pre and post natal experience.

Leave a Comment


Watch my free 5-part video series that will teach you the basics of developing a strong & healthy core!