Here's a shocking statistic for you. 1 in 3 women suffer with some form of pelvic floor issue. But what I find even worse is that women seem to accept this! As if having a baby means you no longer have bladder control, and that's that! How did we get here! Some women have pelvic floor weakness and don't even realise it. The obvious signs would be small leaks or "stress incontinence" but actually, other markers can include lower back ache, and saggy abdominal muscles that won't tighten up no matter how many crunches you do. You see, the pelvic floor muscles are part of the abdominals, it forms the sling at the base, but all these muscles need to work in unison, with equal tension throughout to remain toned.
After my first son, when I was getting ready to leave the hospital, I remember a nurse thrusting a handful of leaflets at me, one of which was a black and white photocopied flyer with a couple of pictures which I believe was aimed at pelvic floor exercises, but the information it contained was woeful at best. Over the 3 or 4 visits with my health visitor, I think it was brought up just once in conversation, it was simple a question "Have you been doing any pelvic floor exercises?" That's it. No further instructions or guidance.
We need to be taught... properly. Most of my clients finally admit that they aren't sure if they are actually doing them right. That's OK, but why aren't we teaching this stuff? Mandatory ante-natal classes that we all attended would be a great start. Rather than encouraging you to breath through contractions and turn down pain relief, why are women taught this most basic thing of all.
But at least every women has heard about the pelvic floor, even if it's not working as it should. By far my biggest gripe of all is the lack of knowledge surrounding Diastatsis Recti. This is the term given to the separation of the two sides of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy. Perfectly normal, happens 100% of the time. Unfortunately, they only return to their original position in about 64% of cases.
This means that 34% of women are left with a lasting separation. That's a huge figure. But almost no-one has heard the term, and even fewer understand it. It's outrageous.
A lasting separation can have potentially devastating effects on quality of life, and in severe cases can lead to a Hernia, or even surgery. Yet this is all avoidable. It's relatively easy to detect if you know what you're looking for, and there are simple exercises that can be done to fix it. I have seen women suffering the effects of a diastasis recti years, I mean literally decades after giving birth, and never knowing what was causing their problems.
If either of these two topics strike a chord with you, please do reach out to me. Even if you're not local, I may still be able to help you. If you are not sure if you are effected, again, please reach out. It's worth being sure.