Pelvic Health is the best possible functioning and management of the bladder, bowel, and reproductive organs. It is not merely the absence of disease or weakness in these organs. Pelvic health plays an important role in complete physical, mental, social, and sexual well-being.https://www.bcm.edu/research/centers/research-on-women-with-disabilities/topics/sexuality-and-reproductive-health/pelvic-health/definition-pelvic-health
So why am I talking to you about pelvic health?!
Well, to be honest while I was pregnant or even in the past 27 years of my life I have never even thought about what pelvic health is or what role the pelvic floor muscles have until I started my doula training. This is why I am hoping to raise more awareness on this topic.
I was under the impression that after I had my own baby that it was normal that I leaked when I sneezed, laughed or even coughed. That from now on I simply had to live with peeing my pants once in a while, especially when my husband tickled me, because I had a baby and in our society it is seen as normal to have incontinence as a women (as I am glancing at a “Always” advertisement…).
Except now I learned that it’s a common symptom women see after childbirth, but it is not normal and can be taken care of.
So let me tell you a bit more about what I had to discover during my training that I never even discovered from any of my physicians during my own postpartum experience.
What is the pelvic floor muscle? The pelvic floor muscles tighten to control the bladder or bowel and for pain-free erections. They relax when you urinate or defalcate (open your bowels).
The pelvic floor muscles not only controls bladder or bowel movements but they also hold our internal organs. During pregnancy these muscles get stretched, a lot, to help support the little baby we are growing inside which puts a lot more tension and a bigger “work load” on our pelvic floor.
Now if we don’t take proper care of our pelvic floor the muscles and connective tissue weaken (or can get injured) and different pelvic floor disorders that can occur.
These are only a few pelvic floor disorders I would like to mention in this blog post:
- Bladder Control Problems
Also called Urinary Incontinence or in other words leaking of urine.
- Bowel Control Problems
Also called fecal incontinence or leaking of stool.
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organs fall out of place and fall down into the vagina or rectum.
More recently, it is estimated that over one third of US women have a pelvic floor disorder, with close to one fourth reporting more than one. In 2010 alone, around 377,000 women had a surgery for a bladder control problem .https://www.bcm.edu/research/centers/research-on-women-with-disabilities/topics/sexuality-and-reproductive-health/pelvic-health/pelvic-floor-disorders/prevalence
Nearly 1/4 of women are affected by a pelvic floor disfunction, but why don’t we hear more about it?!
Why do we think it is normal to leak?!
A lot of women find it embarrassing to talk about these kinds of health problems and then we are also so used to society normalizing leakage that a lot of us don’t even consider discussing pelvic floor disfunction’s with our physicians.
Now there are a few things you can do to help maintain a healthy pelvic floor and good pelvic health but always consult with your physician as every women’s body is different and every pelvic floor may need some different treatment!
Please keep in mind that especially after giving birth every women should get their pelvic floor checked. It is as easy as making an appointment with a Pelvic Floor Physio Therapist.
Lots of love from your Doula, Denise