I grew up watching my very active mom curtail certain activities because her bladder leaked. She also had back pain much of the time and was constantly battling with a tummy that wasn’t the same since having my brother and I. From an early age I was convinced that I would never have children because they ruined your body! Thankfully I matured, chose to educate myself and was blessed to have children (now ages 10 and 8). In fact, it was my own prenatal education that led me to my current career!
At Pelvienne Wellness, I work with women prenatally to help them prepare their body for labour, empower them so they can optimize their birth experience and show them how to properly restore their core after baby arrives. In my practice, I place a strong emphasis on the importance of the pelvic floor and abdomen because they get little to no attention in traditional prenatal education: it has become my mission to change that. So many women find out about me after the fact: looking for ways to get their body back or address problems post partum. The two most common things I hear from my clients are ‘ever since I had kids I ….’ and ‘why didn’t anyone tell me about this?’
Women need to be given information about the crucial role pelvic health plays long before they get pregnant. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to prevent or minimize the impact of pregnancy and birth on the pelvic floor? The current reality is that most women do not find out until it after the damage has been done and resign to accept it as a normal consequence of child birth or a fact of life. My mom lived with it until it became a major problem and then required surgery to fix it. Thankfully many of the issues women think are ‘normal’ are often very treatable – they just need to know where to go, who to see and what to do (and the answer is not “go home and do your kegels”). In fact, kegels, sit ups and ab crunches, when done incorrectly, can be quite damaging to your pelvic floor. More on that in a future post.
The pelvic floor is responsible for important functions like supporting the spine and pelvis, maintaining continence, sexual satisfaction and holding the internal organs in place. For a part of the body that plays such an important role in so many things, why is it that it gets so little attention? A big reason is that the pelvis is often considered taboo: a shameful or embarrassing part of your body. The pelvic floor is a part of the body we can’t see so it is often not thought about but because it is so central to all that we do, if there is a problem, it is all we can think about.
Thankfully there are products available to help individuals cope with a compromised pelvic floor. Lunapads, Lunapanties and KnixWear are some great product options that are much healthier choices than chemically laden, wasteful and uncomfortable disposable pads. I invite you however to look at these solutions as temporary because you don’t have to live with leaks. Instead, I urge you to do an online search for “Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists” in your area. For those in Canada, visit www.pelviennewellness.com, click Find A Physio and enter your postal code to find the pelvic floor physiotherapist nearest you. Then pick up the phone and make an appointment; your body deserves it! This is the most underused health resource available to individuals and so few know about it. In my opinion, visiting a pelvic floor physiotherapist should be part of your annual health check up so you can be proactive and stay in control of your pelvic floor wellness rather than it controlling you.
Kim Vopni holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario and a Post Graduate Diploma in Health and Fitness from Simon Fraser University. Kim is a Certified Personal Trainer, a Certified Pre/Post Natal Fitness Consultant, a Certified Fitness For Fertility Specialist, a Certified Pfilates Instructor and is trained in the Hypopresive Method. She is also a Trained Post Partum Doula which has many clients referring to her as The Fitness Doula.