Tips on How to Repair Your Pelvic Floor Postpartum

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Pelvic Floor Therapy and Strengthening After Baby

Whether you’re preparing for childbirth or you’ve already birthed your baby, you may have noticed some major changes in your pelvic floor. With the weight of a growing baby and the natural strain that accompanies birth, the pelvic floor has to endure a lot. But before you start wondering if you’re nether regions will ever be the same again, know that there is hope! With the right recovery program your pelvic floor can be practically as good as new. 

tips to fix your pelvic floor from a doctor of physiical therapy


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Personally, when I had my first baby I was worried if I’d ever be able to sneeze again without peeing a little. Or if sex would ever be enjoyable again after I sustained a grade two perineal tear. Well, I am happy to report that by following the tips below, my pelvic floor is back to it’s normal happy self 🙂 


What is the pelvic floor?

Before we dive into tips to repair the pelvic floor postpartum, let’s do a quick review. You can think of the muscles and other supportive connective tissue that make up the pelvic floor as a hammock at the bottom of your pelvis.

These muscles run between the pubic bone and tailbone and are essential for supporting vital organs like the uterus, bladder, and colon. Outside of support, these muscles also play an important functional role in control of the flow of urine, having a bowel movement, having sex, and birthing a baby. 

It’s important to note that pelvic floor issues aren’t just for women that gave birth vaginally. In fact, some research indicates that a large majority of the strain that the pelvic floor undergoes occurs before labor even starts- simply due to weight and pressure of a growing baby. So if you had a C-section and are experiencing changes in your pelvic floor- know that this article is for you too! 


3 Tips to Repair Pelvic Floor Postpartum

Below are the tops tips to help you heal quickly after birth and optimally repair your pelvic floor. 


1. Allow Healing in the Acute Phase

Congratulations on your baby! Your pelvic floor went through a major event. Expectedly, the area will be sore, stretched, and inflamed. If you had an episiotomy or a tear, there will also be a healing incision. Plus, don’t forget about the 6-ish weeks of bleeding that you will endure as your body heals itself. Don’t forget these important factors in the early phase of healing:

  • Take it easy- rest is important to allow proper healing in the first few weeks. Do not overdo it and listen to your body. If you notice more bleeding or pain with activities, it means you’re doing too much. 
  • Keep good hygiene. Change your pads frequently, rinse your perineum often- especially after using the bathroom, and avoiding itching or rubbing the area.
  • Manage your pain and swelling with home tools. Ice and compression can do wonders. You can also talk to your doctor about what you can take for pain relief medication too. 


2. Reduce Strain on Your Pelvic Floor

Your pelvic floor is in a very fragile state after birth as it heals.

Putting some thought into the way you are moving biomechanically with your daily activities can significantly reduce the strain on your pelvic floor. This will speed up healing and minimize the risk of urinary incontinence, organ prolapse, and pain. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep good posture with sitting, standing, sleep, walking, lifting (and everything in between) to optimize core strength and reduce strain and pressure on the trunk
  • Minimize lifting while in the healing phase- when lifting light items keep the core tight and do not hold your breath
  • When getting up from lying down, practice “log rolling” by turning to one side and using your arms to help push yourself up to one side- avoid sitting straight up from your back
  • Avoid constipation and strain with gentle movement, fiber, and adequate hydration
  • No sex for the first 6 weeks or until cleared by your doctor


3. Pelvic Floor Exercises for Postpartum 

You can start exercise immediately after you give birth. Of course, it needs to start very gently.

Initially, the focus should be on using the muscles to promote adequate blood circulation and proper mechanics. From there, you can gradually build back into core strengthening moves, such as yoga, low weight strengthening, and low impact cardio (such as walking) after being cleared by your doctor at 6+ weeks. Here’s where to get started with exercise in those first 6 crucial weeks:


Most of us are familiar with this basic strengthening exercise for the pelvic floor muscles. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your body relaxed and breathe as you practice tightening and relaxing the pelvic floor (the same way you would stop the flow of urine). It is crucial to address your fast twitch muscles with quick muscle “flicks” for 10+ repetitions at a time to help you when you have the urge to pee. Plus, you should also build your muscle endurance by practicing holding the muscle for 20+ seconds too. Progress to harder gravity postures like sitting and standing as tolerated too!

RELATED: Physical Therapy Exercises to Repair Your Pelvic Floor After Baby


2. Diaphragmatic breathing

The trauma associated with childbirth and a healing perineum can lead to pelvic floor muscles that are excessively tight. This can lead to pain, particularly with sex or exercise, and underlying weakness.

Learning to breathe primarily with the diaphragm helps promote relaxation throughout the body. Simply sit or lie down and place one hand on your belly and one hand and one your chest. Focus on taking deep breathing through your belly only for 1-5 minutes. By the end, you should feel great!


3. Lower abdominal activation

The lower abdominals play a key role in balanced core stability and pelvic floor function. Being able to properly use these muscles will help with any pelvic floor problems in addition to helping back pain and other common issues you had during pregnancy and postpartum.

Again, lie on your back with the knees bent and feet flat. Practice tightening the lower abs by drawing the belly button toward the spine. Hold for 5-10 seconds while keeping the rest of the body relaxed and breathing.

Progress to sitting, standing, and using these muscles with daily activities like lifting your baby as well. Your back and pelvic floor will thank you. 

RELATED: How to First Activate Your Core Postpartum


Wrapping Up How to Repair Your Pelvic Floor Postpartum

With these gentle strategies, your perineum will be feeling better over time. Ultimately, the goal is to give your pelvic floor what it needs to reduce unnecessary secondary problems.

If you find these tips aren’t enough and you are experiencing symptoms like pain or urinary/bowel issues, I highly recommend finding a physical therapist that specializes in women’s’ health.

They are experts in getting your pelvic floor back in shape so that you can live life to its fullest. Having a baby doesn’t mean you have to suffer, be nice to your pelvic floor and get the help you need!


JayDee Vykoukal from Health Means WealthThis has been a wonderful guest post from the brilliant JayDee Vykoukal. She is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, mom, and blogger. She is passionate about helping people live better lives on her healthy habits platform Health Means Wealth. Outside of work, she loves to spend time with her family exploring the world and the great outdoors. 


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