Postpartum Pelvic Floor Recovery

Postpartum Pelvic Floor Recovery: Exercises and Tips for Moms

As a mother, taking care of your baby is a top priority – but don’t forget, your own health and wellness are just as vital. Pregnancy and childbirth can take a toll on a woman’s body, particularly in the pelvic region. While postpartum bodily changes are natural, many of us struggle with pelvic floor weakness and dysfunction due to stretched and weakened muscles or injured tissue during childbirth. In this blog, we discuss the importance of postpartum pelvic floor recovery and share holistic exercises and self-care tips to help new moms recuperate, alleviate discomfort, and regain body control.

Postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction can manifest in a variety of ways, including pain or discomfort during intercourse, urinary incontinence, and even pelvic organ prolapse. For a holistic approach to address these concerns, it’s crucial to incorporate gentle exercises that connect and strengthen pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises, pelvic tilts, and deep squats prove effective in rehabilitating the pelvic floor after childbirth. We will delve into each exercise and provide step-by-step guidance to ensure proper technique, along with recommendations for frequency and duration.

However, pelvic floor exercises alone may not resolve all discomforts. Self-care routines, such as improving your sleep quality, sitz baths, being outside to get sunlight and vitamin D, and refraining from heavy lifting, play an essential role in your recovery journey. Additionally, adopting a nutritious diet and staying hydrated can improve digestion, reduce constipation, and prevent unnecessary strain on the pelvic floor muscles. In this blog, we will elaborate on specific self-care tips that mothers can incorporate into their daily routines.

Pelvic floor recovery can vary significantly between new moms; some may experience improvements within weeks, while others might require months of diligence and patience. It is crucial not to compare your progress with others, as each journey is unique. If you find the postpartum-related pain and discomfort persisting or worsening despite self-care and exercises, seeking professional expertise in physical therapy is imperative.

With in-home and virtual therapy visits, Mamas & Misses Physical Therapy is committed to helping moms relieve pain, regain strength, and improve their overall health through holistic and non-invasive methods. Let us guide you on your postpartum recovery journey and empower you to live a pain-free and thriving life as a new mother.

The Struggle with Postpartum Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Pregnancy and childbirth are incredible experiences, but they also impose stress on a woman’s body, particularly in the pelvic region. Many new moms struggle with postpartum pelvic floor dysfunction, experiencing pain during intercourse, urinary incontinence, and even pelvic organ prolapse. If left unaddressed, these symptoms can persist long-term and affect your overall well-being. In this blog, we will discuss essential exercises and self-care tips that aid in your postpartum pelvic floor recovery journey.

Exercises to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor

1. Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises are designed to target and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. They may also help connect to the pelvic floor muscles because disconnect can happen due to years of ignoring them or trauma that occurs during childbirth. These exercises may also play a role in relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. They’re an ideal exercise for postpartum recovery. 

To perform Kegels:

-Inhale through your nose, relax your belly, and allow it to fill up with air. Feel your ribs expand and push out into your hand. Open and lengthen your pelvic floor down and away towards your feet.

-Exhale out through your lips and feel your ab muscles come around your belly and give you a big hug as you draw your belly button towards your spine. At the same time, lift your pelvic floor up and squeeze it closed.

-Repeat for seven breaths. Do this two times per day. 

Remember to relax your muscles after each contraction and never hold your breath during the exercise. Kegels can be done discreetly anytime and anywhere—while sitting, standing, or lying down—allowing you to practice them throughout your day.

2. Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic tilts help improve core strength and stability, which directly supports your pelvic floor.

– Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

– Inhale deeply, then exhale while gently tilting your pelvis towards your chest, flattening your lower back against the floor.

– Hold this position for 3-5 seconds, then release and return to the neutral position.

– Aim for ten repetitions, 2-3 times a day.

As you become more comfortable with pelvic tilts, you can experiment with other positions, such as standing or on all fours.

3. Deep Squats

Deep squats are beneficial for your entire lower body, including your pelvic floor muscles.

– Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing slightly outward.

– Lower yourself into a squatting position while keeping your chest upright and your knees aligned with your toes.

– Go as low as you can while maintaining proper form and comfort, then push through your heels to return to the starting position.

– Perform 8-12 repetitions, 2-3 sets daily.

Remember to engage your core and pelvic floor muscles throughout the movement, and avoid squatting too quickly.

Self-Care Tips for Pelvic Floor Recovery

1. Embrace a Nutritious Diet and Stay Hydrated

A well-balanced diet and adequate hydration can improve digestion, reduce constipation, and prevent unnecessary strain on the pelvic floor muscles.

– Include proteins, fruits, vegetables, and raw dairy if possible in your daily intake.

– Consume fiber-rich foods to promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation.

– Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day to maintain proper hydration.

2. Prioritize Rest and Relaxation

Rest is crucial during postpartum recovery, as your body requires time to heal and recover from childbirth.

– Take regular breaks and allow yourself to recover.

– Elevate your legs when resting to improve circulation and reduce swelling.

– Practice deep breathing to reduce stress and tension in your pelvic floor muscles.

– Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. 

– Make a bedtime routine to signal to your body that it is time to sleep. 

– Avoid screens from phones, tablets, or TV at least one hour before bed. 

– Creating a quiet, dark, and cool sleeping environment can also help improve your sleep quality.

3. Spend Some Time in the Sun and Nature

Spending time outside in the sun and nature can be very good for your recovery. Sunlight helps your body make Vitamin D, which is important for muscle health. Walking or sitting in nature can also reduce stress and make you feel more relaxed. 

4. Utilize Sitz Bath for Perineal Soreness

If you have perineal soreness, a sitz bath can provide relief. A sitz bath involves sitting in warm water for 10-15 minutes. This helps reduce swelling and soothes the sore area. You can easily prepare a sitz bath at home using a special basin or simply in your bathtub. Make sure the water is not too hot to avoid irritation. You can do this several times a day as needed to relieve discomfort.

The Road to Postpartum Pelvic Floor Recovery

Remember, your postpartum recovery journey is unique, and each woman’s experience with pelvic floor healing may differ. It’s essential to be patient with yourself and know that it may take weeks or months to feel completely recovered. If your symptoms persist or worsen despite diligently following exercises and self-care routines, seeking professional assistance in physical therapy may be necessary.

Mamas & Misses Physical Therapy specializes in providing holistic and non-invasive treatments to help new moms improve pain, regain strength, and enhance overall wellbeing through in-home and virtual therapy visits. Let us support you on your path towards recovery, empowering you to prioritize your health and embrace life as a pain-free, thriving mother

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