All Blogs
Reclaiming Your Strength: A Postpartum Guide to Pelvic Floor Healing

Congratulations on the birth of your new baby! Now that you’ve gone through the physical and mental marathon of pregnancy and labour, it’s time for you and your body to recover.

But where do you start your healing journey? And what’s “normal” in the coming weeks and months?

Well, let’s start at the beginning.

Throughout your pregnancy, your pelvic floor muscles supported a progressively increasing load as the baby grew. Whether you delivered your baby vaginally or through a C-section, your pelvic floor will benefit from a guided recovery program to ensure that it heals in the best way possible.

In your early postpartum period, some symptoms are normal—at least for a little while. These symptoms can occur in the first few weeks postpartum but they should NOT continue beyond 3-6 weeks postpartum. Luckily, all of these symptoms are treatable and an assessment from a pelvic floor physiotherapist can help get you on the right track!

Symptoms that are common, but NOT NORMAL after 3-6 weeks postpartum:

• Incontinence (AKA urinary or rectal leakage)

• Increased urinary urgency or frequency

• Feelings of heaviness, pressure or sagging in the pelvic floor

• Painful bowel movements

• Painful sex

• Persistent pelvic girdle pain

Many of these symptoms are caused by pelvic floor dysfunction and a pelvic floor physiotherapist can work with you to determine the cause and guide you through recovery exercises. You can see a pelvic floor physiotherapist as early as 6 weeks postpartum, but it is never too late to have an assessment even if you are years beyond that timeline!

Pelvic floor physios can also help you rediscover exercise. Though you’ll likely be told by your healthcare provider that you can return to exercising around the 6 week postpartum mark, it can be difficult to figure out what exactly that should look like as you recover. Your pelvic floor physiotherapist can give you thorough guidelines for your return to exercise to ensure that you are safely progressing. This includes assessing for diastasis rectus abdominus (DRA) and determining when you are safe to return to higher intensity exercise, such as running or HIIT workouts.

Pelvic floor health is so important to your overall physical, mental and emotional health, especially in your postpartum period. Hopefully this blog was helpful in clarifying what symptoms you should look out for, and helps to guide your first steps in pelvic floor healing!

January 12, 2023
2 min read
Amber Watkins
Pelvic Health Physiotherapist