A per­sonal story about over­com­ing prolapse af­ter child birth

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Mag­dalena Haw­ley

WE tend to take our pelvic floor for granted. I was the same. That is why I now want to ed­u­cate women about the im­por­tance of be­com­ing strong from the inside out post­birth and raise aware­ness of prolapse and pelvic floor dys­func­tions. What is Pelvic Or­gan Prolapse? Prolapse oc­curs when the mus­cles, fas­cia and lig­a­ments hold­ing your pelvic or­gans (blad­der, uterus, and bowel) are weak­ened and stretched, which al­lows the pelvic or­gans to drop. This is quite com­mon, but it’s hardly spoken about. Most women have never even heard about prolapse be­fore they have the con­di­tion. I was di­ag­nosed with prolapse at 19 months’ post-birth and it was a huge shock. I went to see a phys­io­ther­a­pist spe­cial­is­ing in women’s health as for months I had suf­fered from in­con­ti­nence. But as I leaked only dur­ing high­in­ten­sity ex­er­cises like run­ning and jump­ing and was fine dur­ing pump classes and lift­ing weights, I kept ig­nor­ing it. I thought, ‘That’s nor­mal as I had a baby’. My turn­ing point was when I did a high-in­ten­sity class, where I jumped al­most non-stop for 45 min­utes… and I ended up with a wet crotch! At that point I thought that I need to do some­thing about it! Even when I made my ap­point­ment with the women’s health physio, I thought that she was go­ing to say that it’s nor­mal to have weak pelvic floor and leak af­ter child­birth! I did not ex­pect to find out that I have stage two blad­der prolapse and mi­nor bowel prolapse. To be hon­est, my first re­ac­tion was anger! I’ve learned from my physio that one in three women will suf­fer from prolapse af­ter giv­ing birth and 50% of mums are go­ing to suf­fer from prolapse at some point of their life! I couldn’t un­der­stand why no one talks about it if it’s so com­mon. On top of that I’ve learned that all the ex­er­cises I had been do­ing like heavy lift­ing and high-in­ten­sity ex­er­cises could make it worse! At first, my women’s health physio pre­scribed me mainly Kegel ex­er­cises, also known as pelvic floor mus­cle

train­ing. Soon my pro­gram turned into more func­tional ex­er­cise, as pelvic floor is a func­tional mus­cle and needs to be used with other mus­cles to be­come stronger. Iso­lated moves, like Kegels, are great to start, how­ever to strengthen your pelvic floor you need to ap­ply sim­i­lar rules as when you work other mus­cles in your body. Thus, start with the ba­sic ex­er­cises and then progress into more com­plex moves and fi­nally add re­sis­tance. The good news is that you can do ex­er­cises that will not only help you strengthen your pelvic floor mus­cles but will also shape up your butt. My two fa­vorite ex­er­cises are the Glute Bridge and the Clams. I still in­cor­po­rate these ex­er­cises in my train­ing ses­sions so es­sen­tially my pelvic floor ex­er­cises are part of my train­ing ses­sion, so I don’t have to find ex­tra time to do them.

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