Carmen MacAngus, B.Sc.PT, CGIMS, AFCI, Registered Physiotherapist, Women’s Health
Some special issues that arise postnatally can be problems with posture again, but contributing post-natally is more the positions for breastfeeding and carrying the baby around whether you carry them on the hip or centrally in carriers.
These kinds of things can alter your posture as well, so again contributing to joint pain, muscle pain, etc. Another item that can occur postnatally is pelvic floor muscle weakness, and again that’s due to the weight of the baby during pregnancy.
But with the birthing process the stretching of the pelvis and that pelvic opening that’s required for the baby to pass it puts a significant stretch on the pelvic floor muscle as well as the nerves and associated tissues in the area.
You can have abdominal separation from the pushing phase and that’s your outer layer of abdominals. So with a long pushing phase or a really strong push, that separation can occur.
Another issue could be prolapse and prolapse is anything that would contribute to a pressure or a pain that’s coming out of the vagina. So whether it’s the bladder descending, the uterus descending or the rectum that’s descending, and then how that baby got through the pelvis as well.
So whether there was tearing, forceps, vacuum use, long pushing phases or really rapid exit of the baby can put a lot of stress on the pelvic floor muscles. Another issue would be urinary or bowel incontinence, and that again is due to all of those other factors that we’ve discussed already.
But you would notice things like leakage with coughing, laughing, sneezing, doing any lifting or carrying of the baby even, and any exercise that you might want to participate in.
One other final issue that you might experience postnatally is pain with intercourse, and that can be due to part of the healing process postnatally when scar tissue develops, pelvic floor muscle weakness because those muscles become quite tender and sore with the trauma of childbirth. And any displacement of the coccyx of tailbone during the exit of the baby.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms or any of these issues in your postnatal period, a good person to speak to is your physiotherapist that specializes in pelvic floor care and postnatal rehabilitation.
You might visit a physiotherapist for information on what is, conditions, side effects, symptoms and treatments related to postnatal physiotherapy, lower back pain in pregnancy, pubic symphisis and safe pregnancy exercise.