Four Strategies For Managing Your Pelvic Organ Prolapse & Incontinence During Pregnancy
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I have a pelvic organ prolapse (POP). If you’re not familiar with a pelvic organ prolapse, it’s when one or more of your pelvic organs descend out through your vagina. With about 50% of women who've had babies vaginally, will have a prolapse. Many of them will return to fitness and have subsquent pregnancies.
There are 4 types of POP. There is the cystocele (bladder) which is the most common, rectocele (rectum), uterine and intestinal. To learn more about POP, head on over to this link.
Incontinence is any drop of urine or feces that happens when youre not on the toilet. Stress Incontinence is when you pee (or poo) when you're laughing, sneazing, coughing, exercising, and some women while throwing up during pregnancy. Urgency incontinence is the urge to go and you need a bathroom ASAP! This is common but not normal during pregnancy or anytime beyond.
During pregnancy, if you have a pelvic organ prolapse, you may find that things feel a little different down there. Some of my clients have mentioned that it feels heavy, loose or that a tampon is falling out when they haven’t had one in when they perform certain movements that they didn’t experience before pregnancy. Some even say that they experience some they accidently pee their pants when they laugh, sneeze, cough,throwing up, or exercise (stress incontinence)
Hormonal changes during pregnancy may play a roll. The pregnancy hormone, Relaxin does just that. It relaxes your muscles, joints, ligaments, and tissues to prepare for your upcoming birth. With these hormonal changes, your prolapse symptoms may be made a little more obvious than they were before.
So how does one continue to exercise with a POP during pregnancy, you ask?
Well, the good news is that you CAN still exercise but the nature of your training will need to be modified.
If you’re doing certain exercises that require you to stand like a squat, you can try a reverse squat. This is where you start off seated in a chair and press through your heels as you get up into a full standing position. I suggest starting with body weight first and if you don’t feel the heaviness, you can try adding some weight for added resistance. Trying to find what works and what doesn’t may take a bit of time.
You can also mix things up with laying movements with or without a stability ball, resistance bands and mini bands.
To lean more about strenght training during pregnancy, click here
1.Training your glutes is essential for pregnancy as well as postpartum. Additionally, strong and active glutes will help to maintain your alignment ensuring a well balanced core and pelvic floor which can be a mig help in managing your pelvic organ prolapse.
You see, your glutes stabilize your core and spine however, during pregnancy your belly expands to make way for your growing baby (to read more about distasis recti, click here), and becomes stretched. This leaves other muscles like your hip flexors to take on more work. When your glutes become inactive, there is less support for you pelvic floor to do it's job.
If you're feeling symptomatic when you're doing some of the traditional lower body moves like squats, deadlifts and lunges, you can make modifications.
Here Are 3 great Moves That Target Your Glutes:
Kettlebell Deadlift With a Narrow Stance
Goblet Squat To Box
2. Pay attention to your alignment. When your body begins to change strucurally, you may not notice subtle changes happening to your alignment. Typically, your pelvic tilts forward, ribs shift backward or frontward, shoulders roll forward.
Ideally, your ribs should be stacked above your pelvis, shoulders down and back, and your chest facing to the front. This allows your pelvic floor to be directly under your diaphram allowing both to manage the intra-abdominal pressure within the core system.
The diaphragm has a harder time engaging with TvA and the pelvic floor because it’s behind the pelvic floor.
Sets up the diaphragm and pelvic floor for loading. The TvA connects to both the ribcage and pelvic to optimally engage.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt
The diaphragm has a harder time engaging with TvA because it’s compressed and out of alignment with the pelvic floor.
3.The other important step is to consult with a fitness coach who is trained to work with pelvic floor and core related symptoms. The truth is that many amazing coaches and personal trainers are incredible at what they coach but there isn’t much focus on the pelvic floor or pregnancy in standard fitness training. It would be like me trying to coach CrossFit! I’d probably hurt myself and everyone around me, so I’ll just leave CrossFit Coaching to CrossFit coaches!
Discussing your symptoms with a trainer or coach that has the educational background can save you a lot of grief. I understand how it feels to have your body work against you and believe me, you don’t have to give up your active lifestyle! In my Online Coaching, you get just that!
4.Lastly and most importantly pelvic floor physiotherapist throughout your pregnancy. They will be able to get an internal perspective of your prolapse and come up with an individual treatment plan.
I was diagnosed with a pelvic organ prolapse when I was twelve weeks postpartum with my second child and have successfully managed it through high-impact training as well as a third pregnancy. At ten weeks postpartum, there are still no symptoms.
Formore information on how to modify your favourite movements, check out my Barbell Training For Pregnancy: Your 3 Step Guide For Maximizing Performance During and After Pregnancy. It features simple and actionable steps to maximize your core and pelvic floor function, improve performance, and most importantly, avoid the complications that can arise from postnatal exercising. Click here to access your free guide today.
Love your baby body,