June is Pelvic Organ Prolapse Awareness Month, but I’m officially declaring it Prolapse Hope month! It’s a good time to share some #educatedhope to help ladies out who are getting their info from ye ole internet, which may be generating more fear than hope. Kicking it off with some info to help ease your mind….
Info to Empower
1. Immediately post partum you may feel like you have a prolapse, that is not just common, it is actually kinda normal. You may feel symptoms of prolapse like heaviness in your vagina, pressure or pain in the pelvis. Pushing a baby out may shift your pelvic organs. Most women if tested would likely have a mild prolapse right after a vaginal delivery. We actually consider low grade prolapse a relatively normal finding now after a vaginal delivery. That doesn’t mean it is forever. However, it may mean that now that women are seeking care sooner, we may be finding what we define as prolapse or organ descent on exam, but it is not necessarily time to sound the alarm.
2. Be aware that the tissues are sensitized by the delivery, hormones, fatigue, emotions, etc. This is normal, and may be fueling what you are feeling. You may not have a lot of experience with these sensations or language for what you are feeling. Couple that with fear fueled by an internet search and symptom awareness escalates. Please take comfort in understanding some of this is part of the normal tissue recovery process.
Strategies to help
Here are some strategies to empower you and keep you hopeful as you begin your recovery process after delivery.
Strategy #1.Truly resting and listening to how your body is responding to movements and exertions. If pelvic organ prolapse or other symptoms/ sensations escalate with a baby lift, movement, or life activity, modify how your are doing it or try again in a few days. Understand it as a signal that you may need to break the activity down a little to build it back up as you heal from delivery. It is also a chance for the body and brain to “practice” elements of a task to help it begin to prep to take on the whole. Get more info on You Tube.
Strategy 2. Blowing before you go to eliminate pressure in the abdomen before you move that can push down on pelvic organs and on stitches. This also triggers a supportive lift of the pelvic floor. (so exhale BEFORE and through the exertion, and continue it through the movement or lift). At the very least don’t hold your breath for movements and exertions. Get more info on You Tube.
3.Don’t jump back into Impact activities out of the gate. Studies have shown a higher incidence of pelvic organ prolapse in high impact activities. Use this healing time in a purposeful way to build back your tissue resilience to prepare for a return to activities you enjoy. Can you walk the same distance you hope to run without symptoms like pain, leaking, or pressure/heaviness in your pelvis/vagina? That’s a good first goal that also helps the tissues prepare. Get more info on You Tube.
All three can make a big difference in clearing those early symptoms and giving you some prolapse hope. So is understanding the symptoms and sensations in the context of the healing process, they should be improving gradually. If you have implemented these strategies and are still having symptoms at 2-3 months post partum then check back in with your doctor or find a pelvic PT in your area (check out my Find-A-Pro Map). Or sooner if you have concerns.