3 Most Common, But Not Normal, Issues After Birth
After carrying and delivering a baby your body gets stretched to the brink. Your abdominal tissues and your pelvis go through so much that there is no sense of normalcy left in your body after birth. Not only does your body not feel the same, but you might also be dealing with some issues that make life a bit or a whole lot more challenging. We will discuss three of the most common issues I see in my clients after birth.
Please remember, while they may be common, they are NOT NORMAL!
You can heal from these issues; you just need to know how!
Peeing your pants
Leaking urine when you laugh, cough or sneeze is a very common complaint moms have after birth. There are a couple of components creating this issue for you. Your bladder gets squished off to the side when the baby comes out and sometimes that can cause leakage. Getting your bladder mobilized back into place by a birth healing practitioner can help your pelvic floor muscles contract easier and more effectively. When the bladder is not happy the pelvic floor muscles aren’t either. Having stronger pelvic floor muscles is critical for continence of both bowel and bladder.
The second issue with leaking urine is your core gets compromised from carrying your baby in your belly. The way you used to engage your core may not be how it is working now after having your baby.. With your abdominal muscles all stretched out the way you contract your abdominal muscles may be contributing to more pressure being placed on your bladder. Also if you are pushing your urine out when you go pee, please stop this habit as this is not very supportive of your bladder.
How to contract your inner core:
Lay on your back with your knees bent up. As you breathe in, allow the air to expand your ribs in every direction and just let your belly go along for the ride. Forcing air into your belly can strain your abdominal tissues trying to heal. As you exhale do a kegel FIRST and allow your lower belly to contract back like it’s hollowing out. This is activating your transverse abdominus muscle which gets too stretched out from your pregnancy. Try it again and do a gentle contraction of your abs, not a strong one. See what your belly button is doing as you do this. If it is moving down then your obliques are overworking and your lower belly is not working enough. This downward force is putting more pressure on your bladder and may be contributing to your leakage. Ideally, you should feel your lower belly lifting back, up, and inside with the kegel as this is your lower transverse abdominal muscles contracting.
Another test to try is placing your hand on your lower belly and cough. If you find your belly drawing backward and away from your hand that is good. If you feel it jutting out that may be placing more force down on your bladder.
There are so many components to a well functioning core that keeps pressure off of your bladder or other pelvic organs. To learn more about all of the pieces to the puzzle, check out my Confidence in Your Core, Pelvic Floor and More online course. It’s full of great information to help you take better care of these parts of your body and stop you from leaking.
Pain with intercourse
There are two types of pain with intercourse after birth. One is insertional pain and is caused by the pelvic floor muscles not being able to relax and open up enough. Scar tissue and increased tone in your pelvic floor muscles can inhibit the tissues from being able to stretch as they need to for insertion. Massaging your scar tissue and your pelvic floor muscles can help them relax and release for intercourse.
Please don’t try intercourse more than a couple of times if it is painful. The pain should diminish with each attempt IF it’s going to get better. If it stays the same, please come have a session. At the Institute For Birth Healing, we can help moms be able to enjoy intercourse again without pain in as little as one session! If you don’t live in Colorado see if there is a Birth Healing Practitioner in your area.
The other issue with sex is deep thrusting pain. This is more common after cesarean births. All your vaginal tissues need to be able to move up and down for thrusting. When you have scar tissue in the uterus from the surgery it will attach to everything nearby to heal. This can create a restriction in your lower abdomen and the tissues lose their ability to move up and down during thrusting. This is what causes pain. Massaging your cesarean scar can help eliminate this pain. My YouTube channel, Institute For Birth Healing, has a video that shows you exactly how to do this, How to Massage your C/S scar.
While it’s very common for your abdominal muscles to separate during pregnancy, this is called Diastasis Recti (DR), they are not meant to stay that way. Natural healing of your abdominal muscles should happen within the first couple of months post-birth. The body wants to heal and come together when you allow it. There are many factors that go into healing DR. From your posture, to the way you breathe and move and use your body, these all need to be addressed to allow healing to occur. I find that one of the most important steps to healing is stretching your oblique muscles. They really get tight during pregnancy and can keep your recti muscles from coming back together to heal.
Lay on a hard surface on your back with your knees bent up. You need to make sure your lower ribcage is touching the ground. If it is not, put a pillow or two under your head until it comes in contact with the floor. Hold your right lower ribcage down with your right hand so it stays connected to the floor while you lower your knees to the left. Only lower your knees as far as your ribs stay touching the floor. As soon as your ribs pop off the floor you need to stop lowering your knees. With your left hand reach over to your right side of your waist and touching your skin, encourage your oblique muscles, under your hand, to come toward the midline by sweeping or pulling them. Repeat on the other side.
With the obliques tight they pull the recti muscles apart and don’t allow them to come to the midline to heal a diastasis. This is one of the biggest steps I see missing from most Diastasis recti programs. There is another stretch I do to help the muscles come together but it’s harder for you to do on yourself. Come in for a session at the Institute for Birth Healing and we can help you out.
There are many other issues moms might be dealing with in their bodies after birth. At the Institute for Birth Healing, we are dedicated to educating moms and other birth professionals in the complete healing of the postpartum body. Through our hands-on body-work sessions and online courses for both moms and birth professionals, we are here to support a better way for people to heal after birth.
For more interactive support from the institute, other moms and birth professionals join our community on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/InstituteforBirthHealing/.