The perineum is a tissue and muscle group that supports the genitals. It plays a key role in urinary and anal continence, but also for sexual pleasure.
Its resistance is put to the test during pregnancy and childbirth, when the tissues that make up the organ might become bloated, causing incontinence, organ descent, or prolapse in the most severe cases.
This is why its rehabilitation is very important. Indeed, the perineum relaxes more with a baby of high birth weight or even excessive weight gain of the mother during her pregnancy.
Since this muscle distension occurs naturally over time, problems can arise years after childbirth, hence the importance of practicing rehabilitation quickly after the birth.
Postpartum perineal rehabilitation, why is it essential?
The abdominals stretch during pregnancy to create a place for the baby, and the pelvic floor is no longer protected. As the baby grows, the strain on the perineum increases, weakening it.
Your perineal muscles maintain the weight of the baby for 9 months, and it’s natural that, even if the baby wasn’t too heavy at first, your muscles have grown fatigued and relaxed with time.
During childbirth, the perineum suffers a lot. This is even more true when the baby is overweight and/or when labor involves tearing.
When to start postpartum perineal rehabilitation?
Perineal re-education does not generally begin until 6 to 8 weeks after childbirth. It is better to wait until the tissues have had time to heal. However, take advantage of this time to develop good habits:
Carry no loads that are too heavy: the baby must be the heaviest!
Adopt proper posture, especially when carrying a newborn: keep your shoulders back and your stomach forward to avoid arching your back. It is preferable if your shoulders are level with your hips and knees. This is done to protect your back and abs.
Who is it needed for?
Pelvic rehabilitation is essential for people who are experiencing incontinence issues, but especially for women who have recently given birth.
It is much more difficult to control your sphincters when the muscles are stretched. Loss of urine can occur when laughing, straining or even coughing. This is why we strongly advise you to practice pelvic floor muscle training, as soon as your state of health allows it.
Where can you practice physical therapy for the pelvic floor?
After childbirth, most gynecologists recommend perineal rehabilitation sessions. Midwives, general practitioners, and physiotherapists can perform them.
These are painless exercises that will be offered to you. They are not tiring either. You will get many advantages from it and in particular a listening ear from the health professional who will receive you.
Talking about these problems is not easy, but your pelvic floor therapist can reassure you. You will also benefit from a program adapted to your case. The sessions will be coupled with exercises to do at home on a daily basis.
Not all women need the same rehabilitation time. It differs according to each case. As a general rule, it takes around fifteen sessions for the perineum to be perfectly re-muscled.
Some examples of exercises:
To relieve your perineum, we recommend some exercises to practice at home.
- Get on your knees then tilt forward, forearms resting on the floor, head in your hands. Hold this posture for a few minutes. Then lie on your back with a pillow under your head.
- Put your feet on a chair and put another pillow under your buttocks to elevate your pelvis. Then hold the position for a few minutes.
- To strengthen your perineum, here is what we advise you to do: each time you feel the need to urinate, take advantage of the moment when you are on the toilet to practice the “pee-stop”.
The principle consists in emitting a stream of urine, then contracting your perineum to stop the stream. You must then hold for two or three seconds and then release the urine to complete the urination.
This exercise will help you muscle the perineum and make you aware of its capabilities so that you are no longer bothered by unpleasant urine leaks.
Tips on maintaining your perineum sustainably
It is important to remember that the perineum, like all other muscles in our bodies, requires regular maintenance.
Do not expect to be exempt from perineal exercises because you have taken your postpartum rehabilitation seriously.
On the contrary, it should serve as a new beginning for new good habits. Continue to maintain yourself after rehabilitation!
Kegel exercises are very helpful in maintaining the toned perineum.
Postpartum perineal rehabilitation is an essential step after childbirth. It is important to start as quickly as possible because it will help you regain your muscle tone and prevent pain, especially in the long term.
If you have any questions about postpartum perineal rehabilitation, or if you would like to share your experience, please leave a comment below.