I recently gave birth to my 1st child and was blown away that no one actually prepared me for the 2nd stage of labor, aka pushing phase, 10 cm dilation to birth. My husband and I went to several classes to prepare us for our newborn. During these classes they discussed the stages of labor, what tools they could use during labor, reasons for a c-section, joys and challenges of pregnancy, and how to breathe during the first stage of labor to make it through contractions. When I actually went through my 2nd stage of labor, I realized no one ever discussed how to push and breathe during this phase.
NOTE: This article contains sexual content intended for a mature audience.
Inserting a tampon is painful. You dread pelvic exams because they hurt. When you have sex it burns and stings. Does this sound familiar? Painful sexual intercourse can be due to a lot of reasons; one of those being vulvodynia.
Historically, pain with sex has always been an issue, but its cause hasn't always been so clear. Only in recent decades has it been understood as a condition that is truly recognized, labeled, studied and appropriately treated. Identifying the true cause of the symptoms is critical for successfully resolving them.
There can be many reasons why someone has abdominal pain. Internal organs, such as your small intestine, colon, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, uterus or ovaries, could be causing your symptoms. Or, the abdominal pain could be from a musculoskeletal condition, such as a nerve impingement from the spine, visceral fascial adhesions, strained muscles, or a dysfunctional pelvic floor. Seeing a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor therapy can help determine if your pain is musculoskeletal in nature or if you need to be referred to a different specialist like a gastroenterologist.
You just pulled into your driveway and all of a sudden you have to pee, right now! You make a beeline into the house and to the nearest bathroom. Typically you make it, but sometimes you leak a bit on the way. Does this scenario sound all too familiar?
Having uncontrollable urges to urinate (and other pelvic floor problems) are more common than you might think. We get in the habit of doing this "mad dash" routine with not only ourselves, but with our children as well. But should we be doing this at all?
Running is a wonderful activity for a new or seasoned mom to burn off steam, get some aerobic exercise, and have time to yourself. However, there does come a time when running alone isn’t practical and you need to bring your little one with you. So you pull out that jogging stroller, tie up those running shoes, and start running down your block with baby in tow. Then you quickly realize this is a lot harder than you thought!
Exercising with pelvic floor dysfunction can be scary, whether you are a mom who just had a baby, a dad who is recovering from prostate cancer surgery, or a CrossFitter who began leaking urine during certain lifting exercises. Regardless, you want to lead a healthy, active and strong lifestyle, but instead you are fearful of making things worse. I’ve been there and I’ve treated many clients who have been there too. So let’s talk about how to approach an exercise feeling knowledgeable and empowered rather than unsure and uneasy.
You just had a baby, or maybe your child is grown — and now you have a desire to take up or get back into running. First off, congratulations. Taking any step towards leading an active lifestyle is a wonderful thing. Running can have a positive effect on your mental, physical and emotional well being!
As both an orthopedic physical therapist and pelvic health specialist, I often get questions from clients about how and when they can get back to running after having a baby. However my answer isn't always cut and dry. There are many factors to consider when assessing readiness for return to running. For instance, whether you ran before your pregnancy or during your pregnancy, and whether you had any pregnancy problems or delivery complications should all weigh into this decision.
Oftentimes, moms either get back into running too fast, or worry they're not able to run postpartum and never even give it a try. Running postpartum can be a realistic goal, as it is totally attainable for many new and seasoned moms.
Whether you’ve just had your first child or you’ve had many, let’s face it, it can be pretty unnerving to suddenly feel a bulge or heaviness in your vagina. I often hear, “It feels like a tampon is coming out all the time”.
Fear not, you may be experiencing something called Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP). This happens when the muscles, ligaments and tissues of the pelvic floor become too weak and elongated to properly support your pelvic organs. Eventually these organs can press or descend into the vaginal canal.
As a pelvic health physical therapist, I often see people after they've visited countless other healthcare providers who have overlooked the muscular system. As they come in, I hear them say things like:
- “I have no idea why I’m here.”
- “I’m only here because my doctor told me to.”
- “So what exactly is pelvic health PT?”
- “Are we just going to do some Kegels?”
Pelvic health isn't a new type of physical therapy, however it is finally gaining some traction in the health and wellness industry. Physicians are now realizing that it’s not just for pregnant and postpartum moms. Pelvic health is for people of all genders, ages, and activity levels. Everyone has a pelvis, and therefore we all could benefit from better pelvic health. So let's discuss what pelvic health physical therapy actually is and how it can help you.
Are you frustrated with trying to get your pre-baby body back? Are you seeing your belly bulge out when you do abdominal exercises or even when you just sit up? Are you nervous and feel like you can’t start exercising because you don’t want to make the bulge worse, have back pain, urinary leakage or just don’t know where to start? If this at all sounds familiar, you may be experiencing symptoms of something called diastasis recti (DR).