Postpartum Pelvic Floor Recovery Tips

Most expectant mothers read reams of material about caring for a newborn and what they should anticipate in that area. They are prepared for the long nights, feeding difficulties, colic, and diaper rash. However, many women are not fully prepared for the physical changes they experience after birth. Months of increased pressure on the pelvic area followed by the strain of birth itself means a woman’s pelvic floor takes time to heal. Postpartum recovery tips can be invaluable to your healing.


What is the Pelvic Floor?


The pelvic floor is a sort of muscle sling that supports the uterus, bladder, and rectum. During birth, it is forced apart to make way for the baby. During this process, 80% of women suffer some sort of injury or tear to the area. The standard six-week healing period is often not long enough for the pelvic floor to fully recover.


Pelvic Floor Dysfunction


After giving birth, you may experience multiple symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. Some of these symptoms will disappear in time, but some will require exercises and/or medical treatment to correct. Common post-partum issues include:


Incontinence: Some women find they cannot control their urination after giving birth. They may leak randomly or after sneezing or some other exertion. Some may also have trouble controlling their bowels.


Heaviness: A weakened pelvic floor can create a feeling of pressure or heaviness as if organs are pressing down on the pelvic sling. Sometimes, they experience noticeable bulging from the uterus, bladder, or rectum.


Pain: Problems with the pelvic muscles and connective tissue can cause pain, especially during intercourse. This issue does not magically go away after the initial six-week period.


You may have some or all of the above issues after giving birth. Do not panic since time and physical therapy will do wonders for your healing.


Recovery Tips


If you suffer from these symptoms, you should consult with your doctor at your six-week appointment or sooner if your issues are severe. You should also add specific pelvic exercises to your workout routine. Remember, pelvic floor issues affect more than new mothers. Many women can benefit from performing the following exercises.


Finding Your Pelvic Muscles


You need to locate your pelvic muscles before you begin your exercise program. To begin, lie on the floor and relax all of your muscles. Then contract your urethra and pull it inward. You should not clench any other muscles such as your abs or buttocks. Your initial instinct will be to clench those areas instead of just your pelvic muscles. Imagine you are trying to stop urinating. If you have difficulty finding the right muscles, try and stop the flow of urine for a second or two while you relieve yourself. Do not repeat this process more than once or twice a week or you can cause real bladder issues.


Isolate the anal muscles by acting as if you are trying to prevent passing gas. The buttocks should not be clenched. Once you have located the pelvic muscles, you are ready to try the following exercises.


Quick Flick Kegals

First, lie on the floor, knees bent and feet flat. Exhale and then pull your navel toward your spine. Then contact your pelvic muscles for one second and then release. Try to do two to three sets of 10, resting for 10 seconds between sets.


Heel Slides

Lie on the floor, knees bent and pelvis in a “neutral” position. Inhale into your rib cage and then exhale through the mouth. Pull your pelvic floor upward, tighten your core muscles, and slide your right heel away from your body. Keep your core tight. Then inhale and bring your leg back toward you. Do ten slides on your right side and then repeat on your left.



Again, lie on the floor with your knees bent and your pelvis in a “neutral” position. Inhale and then exhale through your mouth. Pull up your pelvic core and tighten your core. Then, slowly lift one leg into the tabletop position. Lower that leg and then switch to the other. You should repeat between 12 – 20 times.


Pelvic Floor Care


Some pelvic floor dysfunction is normal post-partum. After all, pregnancy and vaginal birth put a huge strain on the pelvic sling. Women who undergo a caesarian may also experience problems since they also labored for some time.


These issues are not limited to those who just gave birth, though. Many people will experience difficulty with pelvic weakness at some point in their lives.


If you do have problems with pain, bulging, heaviness, or incontinence, consult with your medical professional. Then incorporate the above exercises into your regular workouts. The initial discomfort you feel when starting these exercises will ease with practice. Plus, you should see results fairly quickly as long as you are consistent.