3 Signs your Pelvis is Still Birthing after Childbirth

March 26, 2016 in Childbirth, Pelvis, Post Partum, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

3 Signs your Pelvis is Still Birthing

 

Your pelvis may still be trying to birth your baby!  In my women’s health physical therapy practice I have discovered a very common pattern that a woman’s pelvis goes into to give birth. I’ve seen it in most every woman I’ve worked on in the last year since I became aware of it.  Only a hand full of women have not presented with this pattern. There is a certain way the pelvis opens up to help the baby get out.

 

This pattern can get stuck in a women’s pelvis, sometimes for years.   I first discovered this in my aunt who had a very traumatic birth with her first son who was 47 at the time.   So for 47 years her pelvis has been in an open birthing position.  One would think that the bones of the pelvis just go right back into place after the baby comes out.  In some women it does.  In others, which I’m finding is more and more common, it doesn’t.  The one thing I know that is keeping the pelvis from going back to its normal position is trauma!

 

Trauma can keep the pelvis stuck in the birthing position.   Until the trauma is released and the body and pelvis knows it’s safe then the pelvis can come back together to its normal position.   Trauma can be experienced at any time during the birthing process but most typically is occurs during the pushing phase when the pelvis is already open and ready to let the baby out.

 

Anytime a woman gets to the point where she wants to quit, doesn’t feel she can go on, feels out of control, or maybe gets threatened with a c-section a trauma response can happen in the body.

 

A typical trauma response in the body is to fight or flight the situation but since a birthing woman can’t do those two it does the only thing left which is to freeze. This freezing happens while the pelvis is in an opened, birthing position. Until the trauma is released the body tends to hold onto this pattern.

 

I can see how a woman may not recognize this trauma or that her pelvic is still birthing. After opening up so wide to get the baby out, all sense of normalcy, what was felt like before birth, is gone. There is no ground zero in your body once it’s birthed a baby. Also seeing and holding your baby in your arms for the first time is enough to distract anyone from what they’ve just gone through.   The reward of being with your baby seems to outweigh or override any negative feelings felt during the birthing process.

 

But I do know that women can feel a difference in their body after the pelvis has been helped back into its pre-pregnancy state. You must address both the physical position of the pelvis along with releasing any held emotions and trauma in the tissues.

There are 3 signs that I’ve discovered that are clues that your pelvis is still birthing. Let’s see if you have any of them.

 

#1. Your Pelvis is Tilted

The first sign your pelvis is still in a birthing pattern is when you lay down on your back on a hard surface (a soft bed may not the best surface to check this out on) is to check out how level are your hip bones, those little bumps on either side of your pelvis. Are they even? Or do you notice that your right side ilium, or hip bone, is higher than the left?

The typical birthing pattern is the right side will be higher than the left. When lying down on your back the pelvis will be tilted to the left as seen in this picture.

 

Position of pelvis after childbirth

Position of pelvis after childbirth

The reason for this is the sacrum gets jammed up and over to the right during the birth process.

 

Here is a normal posterior view of a sacrum prior to birth.

 

Normal position of sacrum in pelvis

Normal position of sacrum in pelvis

This is how the sacrum shifts to the right for birth.

Sacrum shifted to right

Sacrum shifted to right

This shifting of the sacrum to the right is also why so many women have right-sided low back pain after childbirth.   The sacroiliac joint gets jammed and the sacrum can’t move as freely as it should which is why the pain is created. Getting the sacrum back into proper place alleviates the pain.

There is a two-step process I do to help mobilize the sacrum back into midline again. I haven’t figured out how to help women do this on their own yet! Stay tuned….

 

#2. Sitting Unevenly or Uncomfortably

For the baby to be able to come out of the pelvis the sits bones or ischiums need to splay out to the side. Ideally they splay out evenly.   But depending on the baby’s pathway through the pelvis or the birthing position used, one ischium may be more splayed out to the side. Birthing in a side lying position can limit the mobility of the lower sided pelvis (on the bed) and cause more movement in the upper side (ceiling side). Birthing on your back with two separate people holding your legs at different angles can also potentially cause an imbalance in your pelvis.

If the pelvis remains in this birthing position, sitting may seem different. It can feel uneven, or awkward.   This is not from swelling or tenderness in your perineum, as that can cause discomfort and or pain. If you don’t have pain but sitting still feels weird, it’s because your bones are in a different position than before your birth.

#3. Feeling Ungrounded or Discombobulated

One of the things I ask the moms that I find with birthing pelvis’ is “What are you feeling in your body and in your life?” The most common reply is “ungrounded, not myself or discombobulated”

When we realize the pelvis is our energetic foundation for our body and life, when it is open and unbalanced we don’t have a solid foundation. In one of my clients it felt like energetically she was walking around with her energy just flowing out full blast, like both faucets handles turned on and water spilling out with no container to hold it.  When you can’t hold and contain your energy within you, if can feel a little unsettling. Most new moms may attribute this to figuring out how to care for a newborn, not that she has no energetic container.

 

So if you find you have one, two or all of these signs you now know what’s going on. Your pelvis is stuck in a birthing position and needs help coming back together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Your Pelvis still birthing?

October 8, 2015 in Childbirth, Pelvic Floor, Pelvis, Post Partum, Women's Sex Issues

Is Your Pelvis Still trying to Birth Your Baby?

Labor can be such an arduous task. Whether it’s really quick or lasts for days, the impact on the body is huge, especially for the pelvis. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get the baby out, the pelvis can still be left in its open birthing position. It can remain this way for months to many years.

 

I first identified this issue in my aunt who had a very traumatic birth with her first son who was 47 years old at the time I found this. Her pelvis was still open from birthing. When I realized what was going on I started looking for it other women who came to see me and was surprised how often I found it.

 

How do I know if a pelvis is still birthing?

 

I’m able to feel what the energy of the bones and tissues want to do. I listen to the body and see what wants to happen. No matter what part of the body, an ankle sprain, I can tell you how you twisted your ankle, an injury to your shoulder, leg or pelvis, your body holds onto the energy of the injury. It’s in the tissues and remains there and your body has to work around it. It’s usually not a big deal except most of the time we keep reinjuring it, in the same way. That could because the energy of the injury remains in the tissues until we release it. It could also be why some injuries just never seem to fully heal.

 

Birthing Pattern in the Pelvis

Birthing Pelvis

Pelvic Motions during pushing phase of birth

It’s the same thing with birth and the pelvis. When the pelvis births a baby, the sacrum pivots and in the pushing phase the tailbone moves backwards and the sit bones, or ischiums splay out to the side to get wider.   Usually this is the position that most women get stuck in because they tend to have a trauma response in their body from the intensity of the labor.   Pushing too long or the baby coming through too quickly can create a shock effect in the tissues and they get stuck in this open birthing position.

 

I’ve been asking these women whose pelvis’ are still birthing what they are experiencing and the effects have been from severe to subtle.   The most common complaint was a sense of feeling ungrounded.   Some complained of not being able to sit comfortably or evenly on their buttock.   Others had more subtle complaints of feeling spacey, just not the same, or feeling weird when walking. One of the bigger issues women can have from this is painful intercourse and an inability to contract their pelvic floor muscles.

 

Since all of the pelvic floor muscles attach to the bones of the pelvis, having the bones widened puts a stretch on these muscles. A stretched out muscle doesn’t have the same contraction ability and will appear weak.   These lengthened muscles also don’t have the give or flexibility they need in order to allow penetration to happen with intercourse.   My aunt I mentioned earlier has very little to almost no contraction of her pelvic floor muscles. Another client I saw was still in a birthing pattern and she was having pain with penetration. After one session of bringing her ischiums back together, her pelvic floor muscles relaxed and she had no more pain!

 So what do I do?

It’s a shame that the main treatment for weakened pelvic floor muscles is to see a   women’s health physical therapists, yet most of them don’t know how to assess or treat a pelvis stuck in the birthing position. No amount of kegels or biofeedback is going to help you get a strained, traumatized muscle stronger until it gets some help. It’s amazing how instantaneously a muscle can respond and contract when it’s not being lengthened or in a state of shock from the birth.

 

Most chiropractors don’t know about this stuck birthing pelvis and your doctor will most likely look at you weird if you bring this to their attention.   They all are just dealing with the physical tissues that when you look at the tissues everything appears just fine.   They aren’t aware of and don’t know how to address the energetics, emotions or trauma that get so tied up into the tissues keeping them held in this birthing pattern. You have to address them all in order for the tissues to release and the pelvis to return to it’s normal pre-birth state.

 

I have found in working with women that we need to address ALL of the trauma or issues that occurred during the birth so the pelvis can return to it’s birthing position after a treatment.   The sooner after the birth one comes in the better.   It’s easier to release the birth pattern because it hasn’t been stuck in the body for a length of time for it to think it’s the new normal position to stay in. However no matter how long it’s been you can still release the bones and tissues so they can find their natural place. It’s just takes a bit longer.

 

 

 

 

 

Valuing Your Body and Instincts During Birth

January 10, 2014 in Childbirth, Pelvis, Pregnancy

 

Pregnancy can be an overwhelming time for you and your body.  So many changes occur to your body as it swells to unrecognizable shape and proportion.  Then comes the uncertainty of birth.  How is this baby supposed to get out?  Really?  You can read all the books, watch all the videos and attend all the childbirth classes you want to prepare yourself for the anticipated day of your babies arrival.  Yet nothing can really prepare you for what you are going to experience.  Because no one really knows what YOUR experience is going to be of how YOUR baby chooses to come out.

 

This may sound kind of gloomy but let me reassure you of one thing.  That baby will find it’s way out one way or another.  The more prepared you are for your birth of what you CAN expect will help you relax into the process of what needs to occur. Read all the books, watch all the videos and take all those classes.  Know what needs to happen in your body for birth and what you truly desire to happen for you and your baby.  Then let it all go!

 

Letting Go In Labor

 

That’s right, let it go.  Because birth is really about letting go.  Allowing the process to happen.  Your body is designed to get your baby out.  When we can really connect into that sacred space deep within us you will know exactly what you need to do to help get your baby out.  Many women would benefit from really finding this space of knowingness within so they can listen to it during labor.  Yet most modern day hospitals and OB’s aren’t designed/trained to help women find this inner wisdom.

 

 

Giving Up your Power During Birth

 

We give our power over to our doctor and disconnect from our inner knowingness.  So many women in my practice have shared how they had a cervical check and were only 6-7 cm dilated and shortly after needed to push but was told not to push because they couldn’t be at 10 already.  When we listen to the people around us and not to our body’s signal, because we don’t know any better, more of that disconnect occurs.  When you try to stop from pushing when your uterus is pushing your baby out it creates all kinds of energetic blocks in your pelvis.  Your baby gets the confusing message, come out, no don’t come out.  There is a holding energy that anchors in your pelvis.  You lose that trust of your body that you once had or maybe never really had.

 

It’s challenging for a first time mom to understand what is going on in her body during labor to really trust herself to know.  Yet the more you can connect into your inner knowingness the more you can question other peoples judgements of your situation.  Your body knows how to do this so if you feel like pushing listen to your body.  Value the wisdom that your body knows how to get this baby out.

 

I saw one mom you came in for a post partum session and I kept feeling the energetic pattern of the babies head going into her right hip while there was a twisting of her upper body to the left.  When I asked about this she reported her husband was holding her right hand up by her shoulder while she was pushing.  Instinctually she let go of his hand and reached over to the left side bedrail and pushed.  Then her baby shifted into the center of her pelvis to come out.  Yet there was fear when this happened and this pattern was stuck in her body.  Identify and releasing the fear allowed the pattern in her body to let go.  Twisting her upper body to the left put some torque into her pelvis to shift the baby over into the outlet to get the baby out.  When I explained to her why she did what she did, she was able to value her body’s instinctual knowingness better.  YOUR BODY KNOWS!

 

So how do you connect to your inner knowingness?

 

It starts with a practice of quieting yourself and really connecting into your body.  Connect into your pelvis.  Feel the baby down in your pelvis.  Feel any sensations you feel in your body.  Become still and quiet and just feel what you feel inside of you.  Where do you get drawn?  Bring your breathe down to your pelvis or wherever you get drawn in your body.  The more you can practice this now the easier you will do so during your birth. During labor clear all the distractions around you and connect inside of your body.  See and sense what your body wants to do and get into that position.

 

A colleague of mine was in labor with her second child and she was feeling like she was losing her hold on the contractions and not getting anywhere as her labor wasn’t progressing.  She kicked everyone out of her room and quieted herself and went down and connected into her pelvis.  She got up and knelt on her knees with her butt up in the air and head down and stayed there till she felt something change inside.  Then she was able to continue on with her labor and push her baby out.  She did not know of inversion before this but this is a great technique to rotate a baby whose head is coming into your pelvis in a more challenging way, (OP or occiput posterior).  She got this information from her body and knew what to do.

 

So whenever you are feeling stuck with anything in life, whether it be birth or anything else, connecting into your pelvis and womb space can offer you a creative answer or direction.  If you need any support in feeling this connection I’d love to help you out.  I am amazed at the significant changes in my life since I’ve really embraced and reconnected to my pelvis.  It’s a powerful area and worthy of our attention.

 

 

 

 

Helping Women Heal Their Body After Birth

July 10, 2013 in Pelvic Floor, Pelvis, Post Partum

Being a Women’s Health Physical Therapist has given me the privilege of working with a lot of post partum women.  I have a profound respect for the body’s ability to birth a baby.   It is a natural event that the body is designed to perform.

While birth is a natural function of the body, it is not designed to handle the effects of prolonged pushing or a baby that comes out in a less than ideal way.   These conditions place excessive strain on the pelvis and vaginal tissues and create issues.  Issues that a woman doesn’t have to just deal with for the rest of her life, but can get help with and fully recover.  That is, when she gets help.   Often times women are left to just deal with theses issues on their own and learn to just live with them.   Many are convinced or made to believe it’s just a natural side effect of childbirth.   But it doesn’t have to be this way!

A large majority of issues such as painful intercourse, incontinence, a pressure or falling out feeling in the vaginal area from organ prolapse, or just your body not feeling the same anymore, can all be helped by working with a women’s health physical therapist.

Helping Women Get the Help they Need!

Birthing professionals need to understand the effects a birth can have on a woman’s body and help them get the support they need to help their pelvis come back to it’s normal alignment and get their vaginal tissues released.    This idea that birth is a natural function and we just spring right back to our pre-pregnancy state doesn’t always happen for all birthing women.   The birthing professional needs to listen to the post partum woman and help them to understand that what they are experiencing in their body is an effect of birth and there is help.

Also understanding that when a birthing woman gets to a point in her labor where she feels like she doesn’t want to go on, it’s too much, or “just get this baby out of me now!” are all signs where the body can register the event as traumatic.  When trauma occurs the tissues get stuck in the position she is in during the traumatic moment.  The woman may not vocally say these words, it may just be a fleeting thought but those tissues respond accordingly.    After the birth is over when you are reviewing the birth with the new mama, asking her if she got to that point of wanting things to stop or be done could give you an idea if any trauma effects may have occurred.

Releasing Trauma in the Bodymassage

When we experience any traumatic event our body has three different options to protect itself.  We can either choose to fight the event, try and flight from it or we just freeze.  During labor, fighting and running away are not an option.  The body’s only choice is to freeze, so the tissues get stuck in whatever position they are in at the time.

Usually this occurs during the pushing phase.   When women are pushing their ischiums, or sit bones, are splayed out to the side, their sacrum is nutated, where the tailbone is farther away from the pubic bone, and their tissues are bearing down.   A traumatic response can keep these tissues in this position well after the birth is over.

By listening to the tissues on an energetic level, one can feel what they still want to do.   Helping a new mom tune into the effected area and realize that the birth is over can bring the tissues into a more neutral state.

When I assess post partum women’s tissues on an energetic level, many of them present with their bladder and uterine tissues still bearing down as if they are continuing to push a baby out.    By just placing my index finger on the urethra and bladder and just listening to what that tissue wants to do, most of the time my finger gets pushed out of the vagina.

The great thing is, it’s easy to fix this problem.  By having the woman bring her attention to the tissues I’m touching  she can help them to realize the birth is over, that the tissues can stay up and inside.  The tissues retract back up and in like a turtle pulling its head back into its shell.

Bringing the ischiums back into midline also helps to relax the pelvic floor tissues.  Since the pelvic floor muscles attach to the sides of the ischiums, when they are splayed out and stuck there, the pelvic floor muscles can have too much stretch on them not allowing them to relax and contract fully.  Sometimes one ischium gets more pressure than the other, creating an imbalance in the pelvis, especially when sitting.  To learn more about pelvic trauma in birth, read this blog.

The vaginal tissues may need help releasing the effects of the baby turning it’s head to come out.  Many times I can still feel the twisting effect on the pelvic floor tissues from this part of the birth.  Soft tissue mobilization of the vaginal tissues can help restore normal function and contraction ability of the pelvic floor muscles.  Read more here.  Without this type of work regaining strength in the pelvic floor muscles can be like beating your head against a wall.  The muscles need to be released in order to work properly.   But in order to free up these tissues, any trauma that may be present in the tissues needs to be released first.

I had one mom I worked with who had seen another women’s health physical therapist for 12 sessions and she reported that after every internal session of massage with this PT, her pelvic floor area would ache and hurt afterwards.  This is a sign that there is trauma in the tissues.  When a tissue with tension in it doesn’t want to let go or release, there is trauma that needs to be addressed first.  Also when a tissue reacts by hurting worse after a session, the body is trying to tell you it does not like that approach, something else needs to happen first.  By listening to the tissues and sensing them you can tell when they are willing or unwilling to release.  There is a different quality to the tissues when trauma is present.

Working with trauma in the tissues can be challenging, depending on the amount of trauma one has experienced.  A lot of times with birth, just the act of bringing a woman’s awareness to the tissues, helping her breathe down into the affected area can help them to release.  Also helping her go back to remembering herself before the moment of trauma and reconnecting to herself then can help release the tension and trauma in the tissues.  This work needs to be extremely gentle and respectful.  Forcing any tissues in the vaginal area is very counterproductive.

Helping new moms recover from the effects of birth needs to be a bigger priority in our country.   In France, women get 8 physical therapy visits after giving birth.  Getting moms the support and help they need to heal from the effects of trauma from birth and get their body and tissues back into their proper place should be available for every woman who has had a baby.    I wish I could see every post partum woman just once to get her on the path to reclaiming her body and healing after birth.

 

 

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On Linkedin