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How To Release a Tight Pelvic Floor Postpartum

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

Halley was a first time mom, and her birth experience was traumatic. She had a delivery that required the use of forceps, which wreaked havoc on her pelvic floor. Her pelvic floor sometimes felt painful, and sometimes she noticed a feeling of heaviness in the front. She was leaking, which was alarming and really embarrassing. She loved to walk, run, and hike, but those activities often exacerbated her symptoms. She didn’t feel like herself. In December, Halley emailed me and asked if she could schedule a single private lesson: "I’d love to get some guidance on mind-body connection for kegels. My PT is helping me prepare my whole body for running/ hiking - as well as targeted lower core/ pf exercises, but I think she and I are missing the mind/body connection work. And I think that’s something I could learn from you." Fast forward to today - I’ve been seeing Halley twice a month for the last five months, and her symptoms have vastly improved. She rarely leaks, and she notices far less ache and pain in her pelvic floor. She can walk without symptoms and has recently started running again. Here’s how we got her from leaking and miserable to active and loving life: 1. Created Awareness In Her Pelvic Floor It’s really difficult to improve pelvic floor dysfunction if you don’t understand how your pelvic floor works, and you can’t feel the movement of your pelvic floor with your breath.Your pelvic floor should lengthen and relax when you inhale. With a natural exhale, your pelvic floor should lift back up to its resting position. With an active exhale, like when you lift something heavy, your pelvic floor should contract and lift. Halley had tension in the front of her pelvic floor, so I guided her through long holds of poses like Happy Baby and Reclined Pigeon (these poses help open the front of your PF) paired with breath patterns that would help her feel the lengthening and relaxation of her pelvic floor on her inhale. Here’s a great exercise for creating pelvic floor awareness. 2. Built A Stress Management Routine When you are stressed, your pelvic floor can generate tension in response to that stress. Halley told me her leaking was due to her pelvic floor tightness, and so I wanted to investigate that more. Halley noticed the leaking tended to happen when her baby was crying in the evening. Her baby (like most babies), had a fussy time between 5pm and 6pm, right when she was coming home from work. I taught Halley a quick meditation that she could do before she left work, and again before she stepped into her house to help down-regulate her nervous system. And, I created a 5-minute sequence of her favorite poses that she could practice whenever she felt stressed. Here’s a quick meditation you can do when you’re feeling stressed. 3. Strengthened Her Abs and Glutes Once Halley learned how to find and relax her pelvic floor muscles, and once we got her stress to a manageable level, we started to strengthen her glutes and abs- particularly her lower transverse abdominis. Glutes and abs help support the pelvic floor, but those same muscles are often weakened during pregnancy. Here’s one of my go-to glute sequences (appropriate for pregnancy and postpartum). Try it out! Halley has eliminated her symptoms and gotten very strong very quickly, and each week she is a little closer to the yoga practice she had before the baby. She’ll be there in no time. You can get there too. Use the links in this blog

to practice at home, or come try out a group class! Private yoga can help you achieve your goals faster, because you are getting classes that are specifically tailored to your unique needs and goals. Halley would have eventually gotten there with my group yoga classes and pelvic PT, but it wouldn't have happened as quickly. My private lessons are currently sold out, but if you join my waitlist, you'll be the first to know when a spot opens. I hope to see you on your mat soon. -Mary

Postpartum yoga teacher Mary guides a private yoga student into Child's Pose

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