Postpartum

How to Find a Great Pelvic Floor Therapist After Having a Baby

What is the Pelvic Floor?

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and tissues that support your organs, support urine and stool movement, and impact sexual function. Throughout pregnancy and birth, the pelvic floor goes through a number of changes. The muscles can tighten and loosen, the tissue lengthens and the function of the pelvic floor can be compromised through the pressure it undergoes. After birth, changes in your pelvic floor may lead to complications with sex, urination, pain and discomfort. Whether you have a vaginal or cesarean birth, a pelvic floor therapist can be helpful in healing. Both tissue damage around the vagina and cesarean incisions can create complications for women.

Related: Postpartum Resource Planner

Disclaimer: (I am not a medical provider. I am a mom, a researcher, a coach. My goal is to help you have the information so you can seek your medical provider if needed. Information from this site should not replace your regular medical care.) Also, this post may contain affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, we may make commission on any purchases made through links. 

during pregnancy, the baby can cause changes to a woman’s pelvic floor

Why pelvic floor therapy?

If your shoulder or knee went through as much physical trauma as your pelvic floor does, you would likely receive a referral for physical therapy. It is totally normal to need to “retrain” your pelvic floor after the weight of bearing and birthing a child.

This is even standard care in some parts of the world. According to this article in HuffPost, For decades, the French government has subsidized “perineal re-education,” i.e., physiotherapy that helps strengthen a new mother’s pelvic floor.“This is a kind of physical therapy designed to retrain the muscles of the pelvic floor, including the vagina, and is one of the cornerstones of French postnatal care,” she (French mother and writer, Claire Lundberg) wrote.

For mothers in the US and many other countries, pelvic floor therapy is not standard care and we are often left to hear about it from a friend, a blog, etc. and find our own way. However, it is important to be able to gain confidence and comfort in the pelvic floor after birth. Some women go years without giving the pelvic floor attention and healing and then deal with things like pelvic floor prolapse even 10 years after birth or incontinence for years. While things like peeing while jumping or painful sex may be common, these are not normal and you don’t have to live with it forever. Pelvic floor therapy is designed to help you through these issues.

RELATED: The Pelvic Floor, Kegels, and What Happens in Pelvic Floor Therapy

pelvic floor physical therapy

How to Find a Pelvic Floor Therapist

When looking for a pelvic floor therapist there are a few things you want to consider.

  • Do you need your therapist to take insurance or will you use private pay?

  • What days and hours are you able to attend an appointment?

  • What do you need to feel comfortable at this type of appointment (gender, personality of therapist)

Where to Look for Pelvic Floor Therapist

Maybe you already know a pelvic floor therapist or have a friend who can give you a recommendation, but if you’re starting from square one, let me help you out a bit!

Databases

I found that there are a few “databases” online where you can put in your location and look for a provider. Unfortunately, I found the results to be very limited both in number of results and ability to filter and find specialties. Pelvicguru.com and pelvicrehab.com turned up better results, but still felt quite limited.

Google Search

You can try a Google search in your area. Example: Women’s Pelvic Floor Therapist Columbus, Ohio. This will likely bring up both individual therapists and offices that provide this service. Once you find options, take a look at the website and look at their services, specialties and/or staff to see if there is mention of pelvic floor and/or women’s health.

Social Media

Sometimes the best information you can get is from finding recommendations from others. If you’re area has a local moms Facebook group, this can be a great place to ask for recommendations. You can also follow the #pelvicmafia on Twitter or Instagram for posts from and regarding pelvic floor specialists.

Your OB/Midwife/PCP Referrals

If you’re experiencing symptoms that lead you to seek out pelvic floor therapy, you can talk about these symptoms to your medical provider. This may be your OB/Midwife and/or your primary care provider. Many providers are not trained in pelvic floor and therefore may not have answers, but you can directly ask them to write you a referral for pelvic floor therapy.

*Note I have had some clients share that they were told there pain/discomfort/worry was “normal” and were not written a referral. Know that there is no degree to which you need to experience these things to warrant pelvic floor therapy. Remember, this is standard care in some areas of the world. If your provider doesn’t believe you need it, but you do, go with your gut and seek out a therapist.

RELATED: Sex After Baby: Am I Ready?

Normalizing Pelvic Floor Therapy

While many parts of the world still do not see pelvic floor therapy as standard postpartum care, many women are speaking up about the importance of this healing. It can be awkward to talk about painful sex, peeing yourself, feeling heavy “down there” and other things that come with pelvic floor complications, but the more we speak up for ourselves and speak with one another, the less awkward it becomes and the more women know they don’t have to suffer with those issues forever.

Many providers and women see birth as the goal in a pregnant woman’s health, but truly the goal should be a supported and healed mother to take care of her new baby.

RELATED: Best comfy clothes for postpartum moms


best clothes for a new mom
motherhood

Mombod Aboard: Have the Fun With Your Kids Without Worry

Because Your Memories Can’t be Measured by the Scale

This post is written in partnership with Goldfish Swim School. Goldfish Swim School has provided us with the experience of lessons for my honest review of our time there. We are thankful for the positive family environment we’ve found at Goldfish Swim School. And we are thankful to have an encouraging place to embrace the mombod and make memories.

goldfish swim school young kids

This post may contain affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission from any purchases made from links provided).

Hey momma- Can we have a talk? 

Friend to friend.

Woman to woman.

Mom to mom.

Mombod to mombod.

I know you’ve been seeing a lot of messages and pictures lately. The ones that tell you how to drop the baby weight and “bounce back” regardless of whether you are 6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years after baby. I know you’ve stopped your scroll and thought to yourself “if I could just look more like her, then I’d be happier.” You have tried to watch what you eat and move your body more and yet these kids take a lot more time than anyone prepared you for and there’s always something that needs to be done. Truly, you want to make all the memories with your little ones, but maybe, you’ve thought, you’ll do more when you hit that goal body. 

Related: What is postpartum?

Memories Can’t be Measured

But what if that goal body isn’t really the important thing here? Even if the number on the scale, the pants size, the belly that may still be lingering… what if those aren’t the things that define you and the moments that are special? What if you can enjoy the day, the week, the month, the year and all of the moments that come just as you are? Suit up, momma, because your memories can’t be measured.

Suit up. That’s right, put the suit on. Sit in the sun. Put your toes in the sand. Splash with your little ones. Go to the party. Attend the lessons. Go to the park. Jump in the deep end. Because what your kids will remember most, what they need most out of their moms, is not fitting some outward society expectation, but connecting in meaningful ways.

Related: Presence Over Performance

Putting a Suit on that Mombod for Swimming Lessons

toddler class goldfish swim school 1 year old

When my family first talked about enrolling in swimming lessons, it was the start of winter. I don’t own a scale, but I knew my weight was beyond that “ideal” I have kept in my mind for most of my adult life. Some of the suits stored away wouldn’t flatter me anymore. It was sobering to realize the room would be filled with other moms and dads who could see me, mombod and all, escorting my little one in the pool.

These things could have easily kept me from going to lessons, but there was a much stronger realization and driver. I knew my days with my kiddos aren’t slowing down. They aren’t going to be this age another day. I knew that when they are grown and we look back on their childhood, I want to share laughter and joy about the experiences we have and not regret over the experiences we skipped due to insecurity.

Suit up, momma. Suit up and do the fun things with your kids. Make memories. Laugh loudly. Suit up and don’t let time pass without embracing the moments- because they will go by fast. \

Looking for the perfect suit or another staple for your postpartum body? Find some of my favorites here!

RELATED: Postpartum Weight Loss Comments. Eck.

Finding a Fun Place for the Family (and your Mombod)

If suiting up leads you to swimming lessons with your kids too, we recommend finding the Goldfish Swim School near you. We chose Goldfish because of their approach that makes swimming fun for our kids with play-based lessons and lots of skill building. We easily found a time that worked for our family because of the many options and knew we would have a chance to make up a class if life came up and we missed a lesson.  It also helps that the colors are bright and the atmosphere is so fun that my kids are excited to enter each week. My friend Megan answered all the frequently asked questions about lessons at Goldfish here! Whether it’s swim lessons or any other family activity, suit up, momma.

PS: You can have fun at home and get a sneak-peek of the Goldfish way on their Youtube Channel. (Hello free at-home activity!)

goldfish swim school at home youtube
Birth, Postpartum

Postpartum Constipation: Guide to Pooping as New Mom

Pooping Problems After Giving Birth

Shit happens, but sometimes it doesn’t. After giving birth, up to half of women will deal with postpartum constipation. This is another part of life after baby that isn’t discussed but we are here to give you the rundown: why postpartum constipation is common, what you can do to get things moving again, and when you should talk to your doctor about constipation.

Disclaimer: (I am not a medical provider. I am a mom, a researcher, a coach. My goal is to help you have the information so you can seek your medical provider if needed.) Disclaimer #2 this post may include affiliate links which means, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission on sales made through links on this page.

Peeing and Pooping After Birth: The Amazon Must-Haves

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Why Do New Moms Get Constipated After Giving Birth?

There are a lot of things that shift “down there” when you go through birth. Regardless of whether you had a belly birth or vaginal birth, there are spots that are tender and mentally, we are nervous about feeling the pain again.

Physical factors of postpartum constipation:

  • Dehydration: You lose a lot of fluid in birth and you may go a long time without drinking. This may make it difficult for your stool to pass through.

  • Labor Hormones: All of those hormones that go into birthing you baby may also make your bowel movement more difficult.

  • Medication: Many painkillers are known to cause constipation. If you have painkillers during or after your birth, this can play into after birth constipation. (Cesarean/belly birth may include more medication which can increase chances of constipation. Iron medication (which may be used for some women due to blood loss) also are known to cause constipation.

  • Lack of food: Many hospitals require women to stop eating during labor. This may mean you have less to move through your system following birth.

  • Poop during delivery: Some women poop during delivery. Think about it, if you’re pushing, it can happen! (Don’t worry, your doctor or nurse has seen this before, it’s okay!)

    Mental factors of postpartum constipation:

  • Fear of pain: Our bodies naturally tense up when we fear pain. If you had tearing, an episiotomy or an incision during birth, you may have fear about pain when trying to poop.

  • Embarrassment: If you have a well-meaning nurse, partner, family member, etc. who is helping you with postpartum recovery, you may feel timid about trying to poop after baby. Let it go sister- the embarrassment and the poop! We all poop.

    Related: DIY Padsicles

    How to Poop Again After Giving Birth

woman on toilet pooping after giving birth.jpg
  • DRINK UP! For a number of reasons, it’s important to stay hydrated and get a lot of water after birth. This will give your body something to work with!

  • EAT UP! Make sure to have some fibrous foods as part of your after-birth buffet. Whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies are important parts of eating after birth (and for the weeks of postpartum beyond.)

  • FEET UP! Using a stool to elevate your feet, legs and pelvis while using the toilet can help create relaxation in your body to help things move without strain.

  • BREATHE! Remember those breathing techniques you learned for birthing your baby? Those same techniques can be used to help you poop after birth. Relax your muscles and don’t rush/force it out.

  • Be gentle. Use a peri bottle or other way of wiping instead of toilet paper to be cautious of any tearing and pain. Use a sitz bath to help comfort the area.

  • Stool Softener. Your doctor will likely provide you a stool softener that is safe for breastfeeding and after birth. A medication like Colace can help things get “regular” again.

Dealing with Long-term Postpartum Constipation

While there are many ways to help things get moving right after birth, it is also important to think about the long-term impact on your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor helps our body to poop without pain or problems. There are many reasons to see a pelvic floor therapist (and pelvic floor physical therapy is standard care in some countries!) and ensuring that your able to poop and release gas when you want to (and not unwelcomed!) is just one part in addressing the pelvic floor.

RELATED: Do I need to exercise my pelvic floor?

Possible Problems with Postpartum Constipation

While postpartum constipation is quite normal, you do want to keep an eye out to ensure there are no complications. Hemorrhoids (swollen veins in the anus that can cause discomfort) can be common for those struggling with constipation. If you are experiencing pain, padsicles can be very helpful. If the hemorrhoids persist, your medical provider may want to look into it more.

As your body works to go back to normal, remember what is normal for you when it comes to pooping. How often and at what time of day did you go before giving birth?

If you experience bloody stools (keep in mind you will have postpartum bleeding, so you will likely see blood when you are on the toilet, but check to see if it is in the make up of your fecal matter), strange color and/or excessive pain, let your medical provider know.

RELATED: Bleeding after birth

For some women, constipation after birth goes away after the first few days. If this persists for more than a week, let your provider know and keep up the steps for helping your body get “regular” again!

If no one told you about constipation after birth, it can be surprising. Here at Postpartum Together we believe that NO PART of postpartum should be taboo and we are here to talk about it!

Related: After birth cramping

Baby’s Poop- What’s Normal?

Now that you know what to expect with your own poo after giving birth, it will be important to know what to expect from your baby’s poop too! Poop color, poop consistency and more can vary in the age of baby. Learn all things Normal Baby Poop over on the Zulily Blog.