If your OB, midwife, or physical therapist has diagnosed you with some degree of prolapse, the assortment of emotions you may be feeling can be intense. You may be wondering what this is going to mean for future pregnancies, for your sexual health, and if you’ve been fit before, you may be wondering what you can do for exercise?
At VixieMama, I have worked with clients who’ve been diagnosed with prolapse, once their doctors have cleared them to return to exercise. I strongly believe that anyone who is returning to fitness after pregnancy needs to consult a fitness expert, at least once, to make sure that they’re exercising in ways supportive to the post-partum body, but I believe this doubly strongly for those who have prolapse in any degree.
Basically, prolapse refers to a weakening of the pelvic floor which allows the organs in the pelvis to bulge down, causing a variety of symptoms. You might feel heaviness in the vagina, experience incontinence or constipation, or actually feel the organs bulging against the vaginal walls. With uterine prolapse, you might notice that the cervix is significantly lower in the vagina than it was before pregnancy.
If you have any of these symptoms going on after pregnancy, the first and most important thing to do is to see a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor issues. Before you start trying to strengthen and repair your body, you need to know what’s going on, so that you can be sure you’re not injuring yourself further.
Once you know that exercise is safe, and won’t cause you further harm, it’s important not to just dive back in to your previous exercise routine.
The biggest goal of postpartum exercise, especially when we’re working with prolapse, is to avoid putting too much pressure on the abdominal wall. Crunches and sit ups are off the menu, and exercises like planks need to be carefully evaluated to make sure that your abs are strong enough to support your organs without further damage.
But there are still many great exercises you can use to strengthen your body while you get your pelvic floor back into shape. Some examples for those who have the all clear and want to get started:
- Walking, either on a treadmill (especially at an incline) or out in the world
- Core breaths, which seem like no kind of workout until you actually start doing them, and then they really make your transverse abs work
- High quality strength training with a trainer who is knowledgable about pelvic floor recovery
The last is super important. I know it’s embarrassing to walk up to a stranger and start talking about your uterine prolapse or your grade 2 rectocele, but the truth of the matter is that not all trainers are created equal. If you’re not incredibly clear about what you need, it’s very possible that you’ll end up with exercises that will hurt you instead of helping you.
At VixieFit and VixieMama, I’ve worked with clients who are recovering from prolapse. I’ve been able to design exercise programs that help mamas recover and rediscover their strength in the wild world of parenthood, and I’ve been able to help them treat and improve the condition of their prolapse. If they choose to get pregnant again, I can help guide them through safe pregnancy so that their prolapse doesn’t get worse over time.
If you’re interested in finding out more about fitness that won’t injure your body, get in touch with me at VixieMama. Even if we can only meet once, I’ll help you design an exercise program that will strengthen your body, improve your well-being, and clear your mind. Get in touch with me today; I can’t wait to hear from you!