My pelvic health story – March 2023
Hi, I’m Rhiannon, the physiotherapy assistant working on the perinatal pelvic health project. I wanted to introduce myself and tell my pelvic health story.
Keeping my pelvic floor in check has been a bit of a battle since I had my son 10 years ago, I LOVE LOVE LOVE running and I couldn’t wait to get back to it after having my little boy.
During my pregnancy as a relatively young mum I didn’t really take notice of health care professionals when they talked about ‘doing my pelvic floor exercises’. I didn’t really understand the implications of neglecting such an important part of my core muscles.
Lots of significant women in my life have crossed their legs when they’ve sneezed or said ‘don’t make me laugh I might wet myself.’ I just naively presumed incontinence was something relatively normal after having a baby and something that happened in old age, how very wrong I was!
It wasn’t until I was around 8 months postpartum that I experienced my first real pelvic floor dysfunction, I’d been so eager to get back to running that I just got on with it, pushed my body to the extreme and didn’t take time to recover after having my baby and I certainly didn’t do my pelvic floor exercises. I’d finished a pretty tough run, sat down and as I did, I wet myself without warning or any ability to stop it.
I must admit I was pretty ashamed, I wasn’t sure why it had happened and it had taken me by surprise, as a fitness professional I was completely out of my comfort zone, not really having any awareness of this area of my body.
I did some research into the reasons for my incontinence and started doing ‘pelvic floor’ work and it seemed to help, I kind of thought I was cured and I carried on as normal until I had my second baby 5 years later.
I noticed during my pregnancy that I would leak, I put it down to the increase in hormones and the weight of baby pressing on my bladder, at no point did I think this was abnormal, I thought it was all part and parcel of having my second baby.
After the birth of my daughter, I started to become more interested in postnatal fitness. As a qualified personal trainer with no extra postnatal training I really didn’t know where to start so I booked myself into to do a perinatal fitness qualification and what an eye opener that was.
For years I’d been to referring to my core muscles without any real understanding that my pelvic floor played a massive part in that, I always thought of my core a cylinder (tummy and back) with no top or bottom, learning more about the pre and postnatal body really helped me identify that the cylinder had a top (Diaphragm) and bottom (pelvic floor) too.
I really started to take notice of my pelvic floor, I switched my brain on to communicate with it and after a good few months of training I finally felt I had the control back after almost 6 years of things being just ok.
Incontinence before or after having a baby is not normal, we don’t have to put up with it, I wish the younger me had listened to the advice I was given.
So if you come across me in an antenatal education session or on the ward after having your baby, I’m sorry! I’ll most likely get a bit too passionate but it’s totally worth it.
Check out the website www.squeezelifthold.co.uk for more hints and tips. If you feel you need help please speak to your midwife, GP or Health Visitor.