From bulging belly to pelvic floor issues, here’s why it’s important to fix them (and it’s not just vanity).
Having a child is a beautiful process. We spend so much time preparing for the baby’s arrival and caring for the baby after childbirth – such that the mother is often neglected.
If you’re a mother, you need to remember that the more you care for yourself, the better you can care for your child. Here are 5 common things about your postpartum body we don’t talk enough about and should pay more attention to:
1. Urinary leakage is common but not normal
Many women have postpartum pelvic floor issues after childbirth. Many are shocked when they first leak urine when they sneeze, cough, laugh or exercise. Most of us simply deal with the situation by wearing hygienic pads or just getting by. Even if you don’t have urinary leakage, you may have more frequent urges to urinate.
Why is it important to treat pelvic floor issues? In serious cases, the pelvic organs (bladder, colon and uterus for females) may collapse in a condition called Pelvic Organ Prolapse. Unfortunately, the pelvic floor muscles will not get stronger by itself and will continue to weaken with age and cause other issues like pelvic pain, painful urination, lower back & hip pain, yeast and bacteria infection, urinary tract infections and constipation. Strengthening the pelvic floor is the first exercise any postpartum woman should do towards recovery.
2. Sexual satisfaction and achieving orgasms may be more difficult
A well-toned pelvic floor enhances the feeling in your vagina, making sex and orgasms more satisfying. Conversely, a weak pelvic floor leads to dryness and laxity where the walls of the vagina are not well lubricated. Breastfeeding aggravates the condition as breastfeeding suppresses estrogen production which produces lubrication. If penetrative sex hurts after the first few times, go slow and use lubricants. If it still hurts, see a pelvic floor physical therapist.
3. The bulging belly that remains may be a serious condition
Many postpartum women are left with a bulging belly after pregnancy which is difficult to lose, and many let the mummy tummy be. This could be a case of Diastasis Recti, where a wide gap is left in the midline of the abdominals. If left alone, the integrity and functional strength of the abdominal wall will be impacted and can aggravate lower back pain and pelvic instability.
Women expecting more than one baby, those with a pronounced anterior tilt, or with poor abdominal muscle tone are at risk. To avoid putting too much pressure on these muscles, avoid crunches or sit-ups that may widen the gap.
4. Your back pain could be due to poor carrying form
Everyone wants to carry the baby, but for mothers who are carrying the baby almost all the time, it is real hard physical work. Posture and habitual movements change during pregnancy from carrying around extra weight in new places, and the body also produces relaxin and progesterone hormones, which loosen your ligaments and joints. It is good practice to carry the baby on both sides equally and squat while lowering down to carry your baby instead of bending over your back. If pain persists after making these changes, physical therapy is a good idea.
5. It’s natural to feel the blues, but it shouldn’t last
Up to 80% of postpartum women feel the baby blues during in the first weeks after giving birth. This is okay and it’s natural to feel some unhappiness and fatigue, but it is not to be confused with postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a serious mental health issue. Symptoms include frequent crying, difficulty sleeping and feeling intense sadness, hopelessness, or disconnection from others, including your new baby. If these symptoms last for longer than two weeks or affect your ability to care for yourself or your family, you might have postpartum depression. Remember that you’re not alone in your postpartum journey – you can and should ask your family and friends for help.
With today’s advanced medical technology and increased awareness about postpartum issues, recovering from these issues are much easier. Know someone that needs help? Find out about our easy treatment options here.
Orchard Clinic is a specialised centre for Postnatal and Postpartum conditions, helping clients achieve healthy and pain-free lifestyles.