Pregnancy & Physical Therapy 101 – Week 5

Over the past 4 weeks, we have presented you with some basic information for pregnancy and return to activity after pregnancy. Every person is going to be different, and this is purely based on research and experience. Today we are completing this series with more technical information and with some of our resources.

If you would like more information, please contact us, so we can help you individually.

Pelvic floor research:

The overall pelvic floor muscle group has 4 primary functions:

  1. They are supportive and hold your organs up,
  2. They include sphincter muscles to prevent urinary and fecal incontinence,
  3. They contribute to sexual arousal and performance,
  4. And they assist in lumbopelvic stability

Pregnancy and delivery can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction

Think of what can happen if the pelvic floor no longer performs its vital functions well. If the organs of the pelvis are not well supported against gravity and cushioned against pressure, they literally begin to drop. This is known as pelvic organ prolapse.

  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse
    • Parity increases risk (Buchsbaum et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2006)
    • Found in 44% of parous women aged 20-59 (Samuelsson et al. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1999)
    • Urinary incontinence
    • 4% greater in primiparous women (MacLennan, et al. Br J Obstet Gynecol. 2000)
    • 5-6 times more likely with vaginal delivery (Altman et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2006)
    • Reported by 25-75% women postpartum (Gregory, & Nygaard. Clininal Obstet Gynecol. 2004)
  • Dyspareunia
    • Pelvic floor muscle spasm and/or scar tissue following an episiotomy (MacLennan et al. Br J Obstet Gynecol. 2000)

If the superficial sphincter muscles grow weak or are impaired by labor and delivery, women may experience difficulty with evacuating and/ or retaining the contents of their bladder or bowel. This is known as incontinence.

If the pelvic floor muscles that power sexual activity grow weak or are impaired, sexual activity may become painful. This is known as dypareunia. This is not an end-all, be-all symptom. This is something that can be helped!

There is an abundance of information that has been provided over these past few weeks…ultimately, if you are unsure, please contact us, as we would love to help you with your individual needs!

And ultimately, congratulations on your new baby!!