Women want to do what is best for their unborn child when considering pregnancy or just finding out that they are expecting.
It is definitely on their priority list to prepare their bodies for pregnancy and to make delivery as painless and quick as possible. A soon-to-be mom must prepare her body for labor and delivery in any way that can be done to avoid risks or difficulties. But why do so few women know about the pelvic floor in chiropractic?
How do you define the Pelvic Floor?
It is one of the body’s few horizontal load-bearing muscle groups, attaching to the pelvis, sacrum, and pelvic girdle. It acts like a sling or hammock, supporting the organs in the pelvis.
The pelvic floor is a muscle, tissue, and nerve system that supports the bladder, prostate, rectum, and seminal vesicles in both men and women. Female pelvic floor muscles, ligaments, connective tissues, and nerves support the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum.
Often, the pelvic floor does not work as well as it should. The bladder and bowel functions are controlled when these muscles contract or relax. About 25% of women suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Between the ages of 20 and 39, women are affected by about 10% of pelvic floor disorders, women between the ages of 40 and 59 are affected by over 35% of pelvic floor disorders, and women over 80 are affected by about half.
A dysfunctional pelvic floor
A pelvic floor disorder is caused by a weakened, damaged, or malfunctioning group of muscles. Pelvic floor disorders can present as urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, or prolapse of pelvic organs.
Although many women will notice symptoms, they will not seek help; instead, they will tolerate these problems (often for years) because they are embarrassed or unwilling to seek help.
There are several symptoms, including a pressing need to urinate, painful urination, or incomplete bladder emptying when urinating. Constipation, straining, or bowel pains are also common symptoms. Unexplained lower back, pelvis, genitals, or rectum pain; pain or pressure in the vagina or rectum; a heavy feeling in the pelvis or bulging in the vagina or rectum; painful sexual encounters; or pelvic muscle spasms.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Causes
It is common for the pelvic floor to become weak after childbirth. Still, other factors such as being overweight, experiencing pelvic surgery, or lifting heavy objects repeatedly can also contribute to it.
According to a recent study published in Women’s Health, pelvic floor dysfunction is not just a result of childbirth. Medical interventions or inaction may lead to future problems. Both stress urinary incontinence and prolapse are strongly associated with vaginal delivery interventions, according to the literature. Studies have shown that forceps deliveries, prolonged second stages of labor, and sphincter lacerations may cause more pelvic floor trauma.
It is possible to avoid pelvic floor disorders after pregnancy by avoiding forceps and reducing the duration of the second stage of labor, even though some risk factors cannot be avoided, such as the mother’s age or the baby’s head down but facing the wrong way.
How to prevent pelvic floor damage
Doctors and midwives recommend performing Kegel exercises to strengthen their pelvic muscles during pregnancy. Most people don’t realize that those “pelvic muscles” are the pelvic floor, and preparing the body for pregnancy will help avoid damage to the pelvic floor.
As a result of regular chiropractic adjustments during pregnancy, many women report fewer intervention needs and fewer dystocia during labor and delivery. Regular chiropractic care may be a preventative measure for pelvic floor disorders since medical interventions and fetal malposition are the most common causes.
Pelvic Floor Exercise Program
Preparation is vital for pregnancy as the pelvic floor is crucial during pregnancy and delivery. Exercise and stretching are helpful during pregnancy to strengthen the pelvic floor.
Kegel exercises are recommended by all birthing professionals, as previously mentioned. It is essential not to move your legs, buttocks, or abdominal muscles while doing Kegels. During this exercise, you are contracting the pelvic floor muscles and pretending to stop the flow of urine and gas. When performing Kegel exercises correctly, you should not feel anything above your belly button. Still, you should feel a little tightening of your lower abdominal muscles. Do 10 of these three times a day, holding for a slow count of five every time you contract the pelvic floor muscles.
It strengthens the abdominal muscles and reduces back pain during pregnancy and labor by doing the pelvic tilt on all fours. While keeping your arms straight and your knees hip-width apart while keeping your hands and knees, round your back, tighten your abdomen, tuck your buttocks under and tighten your abdominal muscles as you breathe in. As you exhale, relax into a neutral position again.
In preparation for delivery, squatting strengthens your thighs. It opens the pelvis, so it may not be the most elegant exercise. If you are using a chair, ensure your tailbone is lowered toward the floor as you contract your abdominal muscles and lift your chest. Your weight should be centered on your heels to maintain a healthy balance.
A chiropractor’s perspective
As a woman in labor moves through the birth canal, she must be able to contract and relax her pelvic floor. Sacral subluxations would have an adverse effect since the pelvis and sacrum are connected to the pelvic floor and the base of the spine.
Contact us to get more information on pelvic floor therapy in chiropractic and why you should make it a part of your wellness lifestyle.