As many of you will already know, pregnancy has many effects on the body. Probably one of the most well-known are those changes that occur to the pelvic floor. Yes ladies, those pelvic floor exercises are very important to complete both during and after pregnancy.
So how does pregnancy really affect the pelvic floor?
During pregnancy, the body has many hormonal changes occurring. It can be a time where women may experience bladder leakage for the first time due to hormonal changes softening the pelvic floor muscles which normally assist with holding in urine. As the foetus grows, more pressure is also placed on the already changing pelvic floor which can contribute to developing weakness. During the birthing process, the pelvic floor muscles stretch dramatically, up to 250 times their normal limit. This contributes to weakness post-partum and can also lead to muscle tearing.
What can occur with pelvic floor dysfunction?
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle tearing during the birthing process: the degree of tearing can vary from a first, second, third or fourth degree tear
- Loss of ability to control wind
How can physiotherapy help pelvic floor dysfunction during or after pregnancy?
A pelvic floor physiotherapist will be able to set appropriate exercises for you and discuss important considerations regarding diet, exercise, and toileting routine. Up to 33% of women completing pelvic floor exercises are completing these incorrectly which is where seeking the guidance of a trained physiotherapist is of immense benefit.