I hope you had a great weekend. Friday started with seeing a postpartum, pelvic floor physical therapy specialist. This is something I’ve been wanting to do since having Camryn.
Why I Wanted to See a Pelvic Floor/Women’s Health Specialist
At my 6 week appointment two weeks ago, my doctor cleared me for exercise without even looking at me or my scar. I think this is a huge problem with the medical system.
Doctors just don’t take enough (or have enough) time to spent 1-1 with patients.
New research published in 2019 from physiologists in the UK have found that women should wait at least 12 weeks before returning to the high impact nature of running.
The majority of the appointment is spent talking about birth control preferences and taking a depression screening. I asked about clearance for exercise and she gave it pretty quickly, without looking me over.
I tried to pry and ask more questions on the spot, but I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to get further information from my OB.
So, I would have to take it upon myself to learn more and doing pelvic floor therapy postpartum was high on my list.
This was a major difference between my first and second pregnancies, too. I was MUCH more armed with information the second time around.
I’ve felt really good the past few weeks. I’ve done some running (very light) and mostly some jog/walking combinations. But, I am not a PT or pelvic floor specialist, and I really wanted some reassurance that everything was okay.
It took a while to actually find someone who specialized in this. I wasn’t even sure what to look for – what they are called.
But, after talking to some PT friends, I found someone through a referral who was a women’s health specialist and pelvic floor specialist. So, I gladly made an appointment.
The Process of Seeing a Pelvic Floor Therapist
I filled out some forms when I got there about my medical history, and whether or not I was having any pain or incontinence.
The woman I saw was absolutely amazing and super helpful. We talked about my exercise prior to pregnancy, and how I pretty much maintained running during pregnancy
She checked my posture. I will admit, I’ve never had superb posture and I’m sure it’s been affected my leaning over and breastfeeding.
So, it was a good reminder to sit up straight or at least consciously work on that after breastfeeding.
She checked my squatting posture and had me do some light resistance exercises.
She talked about the importance of breathing, as well. For example, she said never to hold my breath when I’m picking Camryn up or picking up the car seat or something heavy. Breathing out allows the diaphragm to open and therefore takes the pressure off of the muscles.
I can’t remember the full explanation but it made a lot of sense in the moment!
She checked my C-Section scar and said it was healing well. She also showed me how to apply light pressure to help it heal better. I was so surprised that this was not something the OB had gone over with me!?
She then checked out my core. I did not experience any diastasis, fortunately. My core is obviously not the same as it was prior to pregnancy.
Things are a lot softer right now, and she pointed out some places I could feel a difference between softness and tightness.
Pelvic Floor Therapy Basics
I wasn’t sure what to expect with my pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor is basically the bottom of your abs.
So if you think of your abs as a can, the pelvic floor is the absolute bottom if you’re looking down. I liked that analogy.
While I didn’t have a vaginal birth, I did push for 4 hours so I wasn’t sure if that had affected anything with my pelvic floor. She did a quick check of my pelvic floor while I did some kegals and breathing.
Sidenote – I learned I had not done kegals right throughout pregnancy and was not feeling them where I was supposed to. It’s hard to describe where you should be tightening and feeling them, but it’s kind of right above your rectum.
Anyway, she had some great analogies that really helped me understand that and my pelvic floor.
Fortunately, I haven’t been having any pain or incontinence, but those would be signs that you may be experiencing some issues and should see someone.
As far as my core, she mentioned doing exercises that pull your core in rather than push it out, which means doing ab exercises correctly.
I’ve been hesitant to do any sort of abs without being checked out, so I may gradually start to add in some light ab exercises now.
She said I’m fine to keep exercising, but a slow progression is smart (my self care for running mentality)! That’s what I’ve been doing for running, and I plan to share that experience soon.
I actually feel pretty darn good running, considering what my body has been through. While I haven’t done much weight stuff yet, I plan to reintroduce yoga in the next week or two and maybe some light weights.
I probably won’t be doing any HIIT workouts or intense things just yet. I really want to allow my body to heal as fully as possible, and it’s just not worth it to risk anything to me.
All in all, I’m SO glad I saw her as I train for my first half marathon postpartum. It was completely worth the money and visit, I just hope I can remember everything I learned and properly apply it to exercise!
I can’t wait to get back to real running again but I know this slow progression is totally worth it. Plus, now I know it’s entirely possible to train for a marathon while breastfeeding.
Has anyone ever seen a pelvic floor specialist?
Are you a kegel expert?