Many women embrace postpartum changes. Moms joke with each other about peeing a little every time they sneeze, laugh or exercise. Even though these changes are normalized, you can and should fix them.
The medical term for this is stress incontinence, and it’s a sign you have issues going on with your pelvic floor. The urge to pee is another form of incontinence and can provide clues that pelvic floor care is necessary, and may require a little extra attention. We’ll go over why it’s vital to address these changes and what you can do about them.
What To Do If I Have Postpartum Incontinence?
The pressure a growing fetus places on your pelvic floor takes a toll on your body. Add in the trauma of natural childbirth or a c-section — and it’s no wonder your pelvic floor doesn’t bounce right back. Muscles that are stretched to support your baby can remain overly stretched after birth or become overly tight in response to the trauma. Any urine leakage or the urgency to pee is a sign of incontinence.
The first step to managing your pelvic floor health is getting a referral from your healthcare provider to a pelvic floor physical therapist. A pelvic floor specialist will run a series of tests and thoroughly review your pregnancy and birth history to get you on the right track toward healing.
What If Sex Is Painful After Birth?
Returning to intimacy postpartum may make you recoil. It’s common to feel a bit of discomfort initially when trying penetrative sex. But don’t put up with it for too long. You may experience vaginal dryness if you’re breastfeeding, as it can suppress estrogen production. A quality lube can help address vaginal dryness until normal estrogen levels return.
But that’s only a small part of the equation. Painful vaginal intercourse postpartum can be a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor dysfunction is caused by overly tight or stretched muscles and scarring from episiotomy tears or c-sections. Before you begin a standard Kegel routine, consult with your doctor or a pelvic floor specialist. Improper Kegel exercises or doing them before your body is ready may worsen the issue.
This is why a good doctor or specialist can help. They can teach you how to activate your pelvic floor muscles properly and release tight areas while working on muscles in different regions.
Either way, help exists. Don’t resign yourself to struggling with these issues and suffering in silence. You deserve better.