This past week, I was so very thrilled to bring the theme ‘Your Pelvic Floor’ into each of my prenatal yoga classes. I learned quite a lot in the process and hopefully inspired some awareness amoung my students. I even had a few come to me later in the week saying they booked in for a prenatal appointment with a pelvic floor physiotherapist! Woot!
In a couple of my classes the intro question was: Have you heard of, or are you seeing a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist?
The range of answers was rather astounding. In one class, out of 11 people, 10 were seeing a PFP. In my next class, out of 7 people, every single person was not! That’s quite a difference if you ask me.
I started off each class sharing a little from this blog post from the Blooma Blog. I then took a solid 15 minutes to do a few incredibly powerful pelvic floor/abdominal exercises, adding in layers of depth after each grouping of breath. I think it’s incredibly important to include these exercises (to some degree) into a prenatal yoga class!
A few of my students asked the following questions about seeing a Pelvic Floor Physio:
Do I need to go before baby is born?
My suggestion on this is yes! It can’t hurt! I wish I went before my first son was born to learn more about my own pelvic floor, what my strength level was, details about birth and how the baby descends, and to get exercises to strengthen and relax the muscles beforehand. Mostly though, I wish I went in order to learn about/talk about how to ‘push’ ahead of time.
What does the physiotherapist do in a session?
Most PFPs go in and do an internal, manual exam to check out your pelvic floor and determine if you need to work on relaxing or strengthening the muscles. In my case, we had to practice ‘awakening’ my pelvic floor and figuring out the cues to get this mind-body connection to turn on. After figuring out the right cues for me, I could go home and have a better idea of how to do the exercises and how it was supposed to ‘feel’. It all was incredibly eye-opening and encouraging to get to know this part of the body on a different level. I feel like after the experience of birth, with my core and pelvic floor ‘falling apart’ in a way, building it all back together has taught me in unthinkable ways about how my body works. This knowledge has changed who I am.
Doing this special and important core work will also help you with incontinence after birth. It’s true mamas, you needn’t suffer in silence when coughing or sneezing – there is much you can do to avoid these issues and any pelvic pain you may have!
The PFP also will check your diastasis (the degree of separation of your abdominal muscles) and help you to do your best to minimize this separation and rebuild your core in a safe and healthy way. There are many common exercises that are done in yoga (or even throughout our daily lives) which should be avoided for potentially up to a year postpartum in order to properly rebuild the core. For this reason alone, I recommend seeing a PFP! A PFP is like a personal coach in rebuilding your core and body after birth, now who can say no to that!
Thank-you to all the people out there who are practicing pelvic floor physiotherapy. Your work is inspiring to me and I will do all I can to spread the word of pelvic health.
If you have any questions or live in the GTA and would like a referral to a GOOD PFP, please leave me a message.
Love and Life,