What to Expect from the Pelvic Floor in Pregnancy & Post-partum

We live in wonderful times as women's health issues are coming to the forefront of medicine.  Just 1-2 generations ago, incontinence, pelvic pain and pelvic dysfunction were not discussed and rarely treated.  If you are experiencing any pelvic floor issues or have questions, your OB/GYN or nurse midwife is a great resource.

During pregnancy, you may experience some urinary leaking.  Generally, doing some quick kegels (5-10 kegels in as many seconds) to keep the pelvic floor musculature engaged can be helpful.  However, pregnant women should not be doing more than 25-50 kegels as this can increase muscular tone or tightness. Remembering that, for a vaginal birth, the baby must pass through these muscle layers, tight muscles may make this more difficult or injure the pelvic floor or perineum.

Post-partum, if you experience urinary leaking, it should be resolving over the course of a few weeks.  If leaks are not resolving, even with doing kegel exercises, you should let your OB/GYN or midwife know and they can refer you to physical therapy.  There are different kinds of leaking. The most common treated by physical therapy are urge incontinence and stress incontinence.  Stress incontinence happens with coughing, sneezing, running, etc, while urge incontinence is a leak that happens when you can't make it to the bathroom in time.