When I became pregnant with my first child, my pelvic floor was the last thing on my mind. I'm not sure why. Eighteen months after having my third child, a very fast home birth, and afterwards experiencing a significantly compromised core and pelvic floor, I came across Hypopressives. Quickly I was wondering why I had never heard of it, having been through the maternity services three times, seen my GP about my symptoms, my midwife and a women's health physiotherapist, and being a nurse myself.
Here are some things which might surprise you:
1. Exercises like crunches and running increase the pressure within your abdomen, and are known to be detrimental if you have a weakness in your pelvic floor or core
Yep, I've been there, and I thought it was the best way to recover and get strong again after pregnancy. But it makes sense that when there is an increase in pressure internally, that pressure needs to find a way out, compromising any current weaknesses. Unless the core is strong, exercises such as running and crunches (anything where your abs are working) will unfortunately work against the very thing you're trying to do. The good news is that once the core and pelvic floor are deeply strengthened, you can go back to all the exercises you love.
2. Incontinence is not normal
Lots of women experience some level of incontinence, be that a small leak occasionally (that's still incontinence, although I know we don't really see it as that), needing to nip to the loo urgently or regularly (known as urgency or frequency), peeing yourself when you sneeze or cough, or needing to rely on pads. This is very common but these symptoms can be reduced or eliminated entirely - just because you've had a baby or are going through the menopause, doesn't mean it'll always be like this. Lack of information or the wrong information, and even the normalisation of incontinence, is common. Women can optimise their core and pelvic floor health - and significantly increase their quality of life.
3. If you have tummy muscle separation (diastasis recti) after giving birth, there are ways to safely work towards reducing or closing the gap
Whether you had a vaginal birth or caesarean section, this is really common, and the good news is that you can do something about it, whilst reducing your waist at the same time.
4. If you're heading towards or beyond the menopause right now, and feel like things are going south, this doesn't have to be an inevitable part of getting older
Many women rely on pads later on, whether or not they've had children. Companies who sell incontinence products seem keen to normalise incontinence.
Being a woman or having children doesn't mean you need to put up with these symptoms. Working to restore you core using the Hypopressive Method will reduce symptoms significantly or eliminate them entirely. There's lots of information on my website or get in touch for a chat.