A Pelvic Floor PT’s Postpartum Journey

A Pelvic Floor PT’s Postpartum Journey

March 3, 2022

Hi there! Pelvic floor physical therapist here! I know what to expect, and I know what to do. And even then…my postpartum journey was not all rainbows and butterflies. So come along with me as I talk through my pregnancy and postpartum journey.

First of all, during my second pregnancy, I had significant pelvic floor pressure. I’m talking, I felt like my baby was about to crown when I would go pee sometimes at work. And my belly button popped out so quickly, I looked like a done turkey on Thanksgiving day. I even had to have my belly button taped sometimes because it felt like my belly was going to tear open. And these symptoms were even with me exercising and walking regularly (oh and chasing around a toddler!), so even when you do the right things, pregnancy still has its ups and downs.

{Some great belly button taping that helped a lot!}

Sure, I had a relatively routine and low-risk pregnancy, but NO pregnancy is without some interesting sensations and some stresses to the body!

After my son was born, vaginally, I was surprised that some of the initial soreness and swelling that I had come to expect (like after my first vaginal delivery) was definitely not as significant. It was a blessing and a curse because I FELT ready to start moving around a little earlier than I should have. I know that I’m supposed to lay low those first couple weeks because that massive wound in my uterus, from the placenta, is healing, but no…it takes me walking around the house a week postpartum, getting distracted by chores that need to be done. Before I knew it, a short trip to get a diaper ended up in starting a load of laundry, picking up some things to take upstairs, changing the baby’s diaper, starting a pot of tea, cleaning off the kitchen table, and then finally sitting back down. I was quickly put in my place with some intense contractions again and an increase in my postpartum bleeding, lochia. That was definitely my signal to slow down! I needed to listen to my own advice and remember that my body was doing a lot of healing on the inside.

After some initial healing, I went to my 6 week postpartum check up with my midwife and told her that I was excited to start getting stronger and see a pelvic floor PT. So off I go to my initial evaluation by a pelvic floor PT (yes, a pelvic floor PT even needs to see a pelvic floor PT!).

During my initial evaluation, my pelvic floor PT confirmed what I was thinking. I did indeed have some diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA) or separation of the abdominal muscles and some prolapse or more mobility in the vaginal walls. Of course I was anxious to get these solved; however, I’ve really had to give myself a lot of grace. A big priority for me was breastfeeding, and I felt I was spending a lot of time nursing, pumping, or cleaning pump and bottle parts.

{This was about 7 months postpartum, soft belly, new belly button, and yes…I STILL have a linea nigra (takes forever to go away for me!)}

But, I could dedicate 15 minutes to exercise during the weekdays, and on the weekends, I could get a walk in. I’ve done this for just about a year now, and I truly feel like it has taken a year to feel less “postpartum-y”. Is that a word? It is now! Even with this small, but regular, amount of exercise, I’ve been improving! Now, I’m not ready to lift heavy tires or do a pull up or anything, but I’m feeling healthy, stronger, and now I’m ready to push myself more.

I no longer have coning in my abdomen when I try to exercise or get out of bed, I no longer have strong, sudden urges to pee with near leakage, I no longer have pressure in my pelvic floor when I stand for more than 30 minutes, and I no longer have pain in my mid back. Now, my belly button will never look the same (remember the ‘done turkey’ look I had during pregnancy?). For me, I’m okay with my new belly button. It serves as a little reminder of my pregnancies, and I say a little “thank you” for all my body has done to make my babies. I don’t know if I would want my old belly button back. For me, what matters more, is that I’m feeling good in my body and feeling like I can challenge my body without hesitation. This, to me, is healing postpartum.

So there you have it, a brief overview of my postpartum journey. Even pelvic floor PTs have to go through a postpartum journey with slowing down, speeding up, putting things on pause,

starting again, finding grace, focusing on the positive, and finding a new mindset and a new measure of body success.

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