Pelvic Floor, where did you go??

Although I was longing for a run since early pregnancy I had told myself to be sensible about this all. Well, it was not only me who told myself that but I had the voices of a certain Women’s health physiotherapist and another certain Women’s health gynaecology nurse in the back of my head. They had both clearly made me understand that running was not the best activity to do considering the prolapse. However the physio had also said that if I slowly and progressivly get the muscles used to the impact of running they may react in a positive way and actually work a bit better – eventually. And when I say muscles I dont mean the quads, the calves or any of the ‘usual’ running muscles. I mean the pelvic floor muscles.
Many of us are aware of that pelvic floor strength is important and we often get prompted in for exempel pilates classes that we should engage the pelvic floor when we exercise. That’s good stuff, very good stuff. But what happens when the pelvic floor fails you?!

I had been pretty decent with my pelvic floor homework already before pregnancy but during those months and especially leading up to the labour I turned up the gear even higher and really worked those exercises. Therefore it came as a major disappointment that the first few weeks post-birth my pelvic floor was literally non-existing. It was a horrible realisation that when I tried to activate it I felt NOTHING. Nothing happened at all! No wonder I thought things were going to ‘fall out’ from me any second. The physio assured me that the sensation will come back, that this is normal after giving birth. And luckliy she was right – slowly I started to feel the pelvic floor engaging and although initially it was extremely weak it was there! At first I only had strength to do short activations whilst lying down, the muscles were way too weak to engage while I was standing and definitely not possible while walking. But as they got stronger again I slowly and progressivley improved to being able to do them whilst walking. Which was something very important in order to be able to increase the walking itself! To begin with I walked for 5 minutes, then 10, then 15… you get it.
If I walked too long one day I would suffer afterwards so there was no point in overdoing it. With suffer I mean that my prolapse would be much worse that evening (my coccyx pain would also take a toll if I did too much). So quite early on I realised that if I really want to get back to some sort of shape I needed to simply listen to my body and be sensible with my progression. If I would go out and run straight away and just ignore the problem I would risk to only make the prolapse worse and ultimately make it harder to ever get back to running at all. So I forced myself to accept that I was not in a position to go running six weeks post birth (definitely not!) and maybe I was not going to run 3 months post-birth either. The months passed by while I instead worked on increasing my walks progressively, saw the physio regularly, I went mad with my pelvic floor exercises and worked on general core strength. As I got stronger and got up to 30-40 minutes decent pace walks my target eventually took its shape.

I wanted to try and run before my baby reached six months.

4 Comments, RSS

  1. runne859

    Hi Rachel,

    thank you so much for your comment. And congratulations on becoming a mother! 🙂
    My first and single most important piece of advice is to take things very easy and to listen to your body carefully. I can totally relate to how you feel, and that you probably want to go running again in the near future – but I truly believe I would not be where I am today if I didn’t progress with my training in mini-steps all the time. 5 weeks post-birth is still very early days. I am not a professional in the area, but I hope you can see your women’s health physio on a regular basis to get help with your with pelvic floor training and support along the way. That helped me massively. If you do it right it will get better!
    Your other questions touch on subjects I have lined up in the blog and will be answered in more detail in coming posts. I will also very soon tell you about ‘The Cube’, which have sort of saved my life with a prolapse – I think it might interest you!
    Many thanks again for your comment. This is what I was hoping for when starting this blog, to find others in similar positions and to start a dialogue. I do hope to hear how things go for you. I wish you all the best!


  2. runne859

    Thank you Rachel. You have no idea what it means to me to hear your positive comments about my blog, it took me a long time to build up the courage to start it! Thanks also for your post ideas, I will take them all on board for the future.

    I wish you all the best with your recovery, make sure you stay positive and as you say make sure you enjoy the time with your little baby!
    Looking forward to hearing about your progress.


  3. Teena


    I’m six months postpartum and I was crushed when I found out about my prolapsed bladder. I used to love running too. I’m glad I found your blog. I’m getting a cube next week.

    • runne859

      Hi Teena,
      thank you for your comment and I am happy to hear you like my blog.
      As you know, I can totally relate to your feelings about your prolapse. It is still early days for you though – and my best advice is to take things slowly and progressively, and you never know what the future will bring. It may not be as bad as you think now. It sounds positive you are getting fitted for a cube, I hope it will work well for you too. Please do keep me posted on how it goes! I wish you the very best of luck. Stay strong and positive!!
      Sofia xx

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