Published 25 January 2024
Updated 29 January 2024
Most of us don’t think about our pelvic floor very often. But it is a crucial group of muscles that literally hold our organs together in our abdomen. During pregnancy, those pelvic floor and abdominal muscles get a real work out, and sometimes get stretched or even separate. It’s important to take care of your pelvic floor after pregnancy to ensure overall health for your entire body.
Diastasis recti is a fairly common postpartum complication that involves the muscles of the abdomen separating down the middle. Many of the symptoms of diastasis recti are things that people just assume are part of life after having a baby, but they do not have to be! Some common symptoms are:
- A bulging belly
- Having a hard time lifting things, or standing up from sitting
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain in the pelvis, hips, or lower back
- Bad posture
- Leaking urine when you sneeze, jump, or cough
Organ prolapse sounds scary and it is a serious complication, but it is also something that can usually be avoided with proper pelvic floor care. Organ prolapse occurs when your pelvic floor can no longer support the muscles in your abdomen and they begin to fall into your vagina. Symptoms include:
- Feeling heavy or full in your abdomen or vagina
- Feeling like something is coming out of your vagina
- Issues with urinating
- Pain or discomfort during intercourse
Many people think that peeing when you sneeze or cough is just normal once you’ve had a baby. It may be common, but it isn’t normal and it is something you can improve. This is not simply something you have to live with. With proper treatment, or better yet, preparation during or even before pregnancy, incontinence can be reversed or prevented.
The best way to ensure the health of your pelvic floor is to see a pelvic floor physical therapist. Many pelvic floor physical therapists can start working with you even during pregnancy to help strengthen your pelvic floor and stop any problems before the start. Sometimes, however, other forms of treatment may be necessary, including surgical options. Your gynecologist or other care provider can help you determine what option may be right for your specific situation.