After the birth of my second, I developed pain in my left hip. It bothered me when I rolled over in bed, when I lifted my children, and when my left hip was in deep external rotation, like in Pigeon Pose.
I also started leaking pee after I had already gone to the bathroom, and often felt like I wouldn’t make it to the bathroom in time. When I finally went, it would be a tablespoon's worth.
When my youngest turned 15 months, I started my pre/postnatal yoga teacher training. A pelvic PT taught us about the pelvic floor, and how to perform a Kegel.
A proper Kegel involves a full release of the pelvic floor muscles. I noticed that I had a lot of trouble with the release. Something felt stuck. On top of that, my bathroom struggles showed something might be wrong with my pelvic floor.
I booked an appointment with a pelvic floor physical therapist, and came to find my pelvic floor had a high resting tone. In other words, it was tight. Particularly the right side (yes, one side of your pelvic floor can be tighter than the other, just like your hamstrings or quads).
My pelvic PT helped me release my pelvic floor muscles. And guess what? I didn’t need Kegels (unless I was trying to make it to the bathroom in time). My pelvic floor didn’t need to be tighter.
Instead, she encouraged me to breathe deeply during the day, and focus on gentle hip stretches paired with deep breaths to encourage further relaxation of my pelvic floor.
After a few months of pelvic PT, my hip pain began to go away. I started leaking less and less. Sex started to feel really, really good (Like mind-blowing.).
Your pelvic floor should be springy… like a trampoline. It should be able to generate tension. You need tension to hold stuff in, like your pelvic organs, pee and poop. But your pelvic floor HAS TO RELAX for pee, poop and babies to come out. It also has to relax for sex to feel good. A tight pelvic floor can contribute to issues like painful sex, painful pelvic exams, and even constipation.
Kegels may not be helpful if you have a tight pelvic floor.
And even if your pelvic floor is “loose,” Kegels alone won’t fix your pelvic floor issue. You have to strengthen the muscles that support your pelvic floor, particularly your glutes and abs.
And that’s exactly what we do in Yoga for Moms with New Babies.
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