Why Every New Mom Can Benefit From Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
- Why Pelvic Floor Therapy after childbirth can be highly beneficial for new mothers.
- Birthing trauma and relaxing hormones can cause pelvic muscle stretching, affecting bladder control, posture, and walking.
Giving birth is an incredibly joyous moment for mothers everywhere, and bringing new life into your family is always exciting. However, labor is incredibly taxing on the mother’s body, and birthing trauma is common among new mothers.
Birthing trauma is the distress a woman undergoes after childbirth, including tearing, bleeding, swelling, and the presence of relaxin in a mother’s system after birth. Relaxin is a hormone that creates a laxity in a woman’s body and allows her hips to expand wide enough for a baby to pass through. While this is extremely helpful during pregnancy, the presence of relaxin can become a hindrance after the child is born. With relaxin still present, a woman’s pelvis and pelvic muscles are still stretched out. This can cause issues with bladder control, posture, and even walking.
When the body experiences trauma in certain areas (like childbirth), the muscles turn themselves off to an extent, so it’s critical to perform exercises that get those muscles to contract again. However, it is extremely vital that new mothers do not lift anything heavy after giving birth, so weight lifting is not a safe option for regaining strength.
Two exercises new mothers can safely perform at home to strengthen those muscles!
Sit and Stand
In this exercise, you work on activating your glute muscles, which are essential for regaining strength in your pelvic floor. While sitting on the edge of a surface about knee height, pretend to pick up a marshmallow between your glutes. Once you pinch the pretend marshmallow between your glutes, drive your weight down into your heels (this activates your glute muscles) and stand up nice and tall. Watch this demonstrating Sit to Stands here.
While lying on your back with your knees bent, you’re going to pretend there is a marshmallow on the table between your butt cheeks. By squeezing your glutes, pretend to pick up that marshmallow once again and drive down into your heels to lift that marshmallow into the air with your glutes. Your body will create a straight diagonal line without over-extending your hips forward. Gently lower your hips back down and repeat. Watch this video demonstrating Glute Bridges here.
These exercises are great examples of why pelvic floor therapy is helpful as a postpartum treatment for new mothers because they are safe and don’t exert any extra force on a mother’s body.