Speaking at a new moms group it is a constant surprises how secretive women can be when it comes to talking about all the wonderful changes Mother Nature creates in our body postpartum. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise as I was a new mom once and to be honest, a lot of it was embarrassing and worse yet unexpected. The tummy, extra skin, stretch marks, aches, pains and “down there”. Even though some moms look like deer in headlights when they find out what to expect, it’s always a sigh of relief for them to know that they are not the only ones experiencing this.
Why is it that no one likes to talk about the fact that you will still look about 4 months pregnant for the first 8 weeks postpartum? What about what happens to your abs past 4 months? None of the pregnancy books I read twelve years ago mentioned that the abdominal wall would actually separate and leave a hole after delivery.
And what about your reproductive area? The 6-week check up was a brief poke, feel and look inside and no mention of kegels and no recommendations on how to get back in shape with restorative exercise.
Being a mother of two has allowed me to reap the benefits and (injuries) of the past, so here is what no one told you about the after effects giving birth can cause:
- Diastasis recti affects 100% of first pregnancies by the end of their third trimester and only 37% of those will fully recover after delivery.
- Incontinence affects 1 in 3.5 women who delivery vaginally. The statistic changes to 1 in 3 after 30 years old. Add more pregnancies, high impact exercise too soon and other factors, and the rate increases even more.
- POP (pelvic organ prolapse) does happen but not overnight. It is gradual and by the time your doctor diagnoses you with POP it is usually too late to treat without surgery. This is why it is very important to be assessed by a pelvic floor physiotherapist as a preventive measure.
This information is meant to educate you. Our mother’s probably didn’t tell us because they didn’t know! Will women stop having babies as a result? Not likely. However, having the tools to be more informed, knowing what questions to ask and hopefully doing what is necessary to treat or avoid any of the after effects of pregnancy, can lead to a healthier and happier recovery.