Over a quarter of women develop prolapse during childbirth and postpartum. That’s almost 1 in every three women living with discomfort, maybe pain, and a sign your pelvic floor needs attention.
Prolapse can develop during pregnancy when extra weight adds pressure to the pelvic area, during childbirth (noticeably more in traumatic labor or when you’ve had multiple births), and when delivering a large baby.
Causes of Prolapse for Expectant Moms:
- Pressure from extra weight on pelvic region
- Multiple births
- Traumatic delivery
- Delivering a large baby
Prolapse is when the walls of the bladder, the rectum, or the uterus crowd the vaginal opening. This can occur due to pelvic floor weakness, pelvic floor restriction (think trauma or perineal tear), or poor breath control. As a result the added pressure from above combined with the poor support from the muscles can cause prolapse symptoms.
There are 4 different stages of pelvic organ prolapse. Most women that have a vaginal birth will have a grade 1, however, do not display any symptoms.
A prolapse can feel like a full tampon that is not inserted all the way, or present in the form of dull low back pain. Prolapse may feel like a heaviness in the vaginal area. You might also feel or see something especially when in the shower or on the toilet.
Common Symptoms of Prolapse:
- Like a full tampon that is descending the vagina
- Dull lower back pain
- Heaviness and pressure in the pelvic area
To help avoid prolapse expectant mothers can prepare their bodies by establishing easy healthy habits. I’ve detailed 5 habits you can start today!
5 Ways to Avoid Prolapse:
1. Deep Breathing!
Avoid holding your breath when getting up from the floor, picking up your baby or getting out of bed.
2. Stay Hydrated!
Avoid constipation! Drink half your bodyweight in fluid ounces per day, more if it is hot or you are active. Eat 20-25 grams of fiber a day (fruits and veggies!)
3. Coordinate with your Pelvic Floor!
During the 2nd stage of labor (pushing phase) make sure to open or elongate the pelvic floor while pushing. Uncertain about what that is and how to do it check out our Your BEST Birth course.
4. Stay Active!
Keep the pelvic floor healthy by staying hydrated (see #2), exercise regularly (30 min a day, 5 days a week at moderate intensity- moderate intensity if you can still talk but not sing- and see a pelvic floor specialist.
5. Good Posture!
Avoid or limit poor posture. This means what I call the “slumpy dumpy” posture, where your pelvis or bum is tucked under and your shoulders are rounded. Poor posture directly impacts pelvic floor health and increases the risk of prolapse.