Exercise after Childbirth-Proceed with Caution! Part 2

May 30, 2013 in Childbirth, Exercise, Pelvis, Post Partum, Prolapse, Women's Health Issues

Exercise After Childbirth-Part 2

So many women are jumping right back into doing the same exact exercise program they did before getting pregnant and their body is just not ready for it.  There are 3 main issues you may experience if you aren’t careful in the post partum period.  We’ve already talked about low back pain and why you can develop this problem in a previous post.  Click here to review.

Prolapsing of Pelvic Organs

Another issue you can experience if you are not careful is prolapsing of your pelvis organs.  Prolapse is when your pelvic organs, your bladder, uterus or rectum, are falling down or out of your vagina.  It can feel like pressure in your vaginal area or like a tampon is falling half way out.

I had one client come to see me who was only 7 weeks post partum.  She had a stage 3 bladder prolapse.  That is where the bladder was sitting at the opening of the vagina.  I asked about her delivery and she said it went smoothly, she didn’t push more than an ½ hour and everything felt fine afterwards.

When I asked about what exercises she was doing she reported she was running and doing pilates 100’s.  Those are the two worse exercises you can do that early on in the post partum period.  She developed her bladder prolapse from the exercises she was doing after having her baby.

What happened to her bladder?

The pelvic floor muscles have been stretched and are weak from childbirth. They run from the pubic bone in front and attach to the tailbone in back.  One of the main roles of the pelvic floor muscles is to offer a hammock like support to our pelvic organs, which are also held in place by ligaments. So if your pelvic floor muscles aren’t strong enough to help support your organs, the ligaments have to take on extra work to keep them in place.  If excessive strain keeps getting placed on the organs the ligamentous suport can fail, causing prolapse.   Whenever we cough, sneeze, laugh or exercise and our abdomen goes forward forcefully, downward pressure gets applied to the bladder and uterus and pushes them down, thus stretching out those supportive ligaments. Any jumping, running, high impact exercises, and/or crunches or pilates 100’s, can create the same downward forces.

When we do these activities without first strengthening our pelvic floor muscles and our abdominal muscles we are at risk of prolapsing our pelvic organs.  To learn more about restrengthening your pelvic floor  and your abdominal muscles read these articles.

Once your organs fall down it takes a LOT of effort to correct the situation.  Most doctors will only recommend surgery; but there are other options.  You can work on strengthening your structural support around the organs and see if that can help with the prolapse.  This can cover another 5-6 blogposts, but I just want you to know that it is possible to manage this prolapse without surgery.

Stay tuned for the third issue you can develop if you are not careful with exercising after childbirth and then how you can strengthen your body safely!