What our bodies can do in pregnancy, birth and parenthood is pretty heroic. But there is one part of your body that may not be getting the appreciation it deserves.
Most of us never give a moment’s thought to this part of our body until there’s another human being getting ready to pass right through it. Except maybe for the pleasurable moments that got that little person into us in the first place.
I’m talking about your pelvic floor.
Your pelvic floor is the web of muscles that create a bouncy trampoline stretching between your sit bones, tailbone and pubic bone. It supports the organs above it in your abdomen, such as your bladder, intestines and of course your uterus. At term, it could be carrying an additional 15 pounds or more, supporting the weight of not only your baby but your expanded uterus, amniotic fluid and placenta. Just like a trampoline, your pelvic floor needs to stretch and give, but know when to bounce back. We don’t need a strong pelvic floor so much as a resilient, responsive one.
Three critical sphincters pass through the pelvic floor. Working front to back, they’re your urethra, vagina and rectum. When its time for the big event, the pelvic floor releases in order to accomodate a baby coming down through the vagina.
Are you breathing right now? I sure hope so. If you are, you’re pelvic floor is doing it’s job. Your diaphragm and pelvic floor work together in concert to create a little something called intra-abdominal pressure.
And hello?! Sex. Remember what I said about responsive? You know a healthy pelvic floor can only make the nasty better.
Face it – your pelvic floor is ah-maz-ing.
Your pelvic floor deserves the best – a pelvic floor physiotherapist. A PF PT will assess the balance and overall health of your own personal inner superhero(ine), and can create a treatment plan with you. They can help you prepare before and recover after birth, whether it’s vaginal or cesarean. They are superstars in prevention and treatment of many things that mothers have been told just come with the territory of having a baby – incontinence, painful intercourse, organ prolapse, hemorrhoids, low back pain and more.
Your pelvic floor is incredible. It goes through mindblowing changes during your childbearing year. Doesn’t it deserve the care and attention of a specialist? If, oh say, your ears were doing as much for you and your baby as your pelvic floor does at this time, you can bet dollars to donuts that we’d all be running to the ENT to get them looked after. So give yourself – as well as your baby and your partner – the gift of a healthy pelvic floor. Visit one as soon as you can before baby comes, and definitely at 6 weeks postpartum. (Most health insurance plans will cover your visit.) You – and your pelvic floor – are worth it.
Here are my personal recommendations for the best pelvic floor physiotherapists across Toronto, specializing in working with pregnant and postpartum clients.
East end (Broadview & Danforth) – Angelique Montano-Bresolin at Proactive Pelvic Health Centre
West end (Bloor & Jane) – Julia di Paolo at Physioexcellence
Uptown (St. Clair West & Christie) – Chana Magder Ross at Vital Physiotherapy and Wellness
BONUS: Check out my Facebook Live video My Adventure in Pelvic Floor Physio and get the lowdown on what you can expect at a PF PT appointment.