Leak-free Living: Postpartum and beyond
By Nicole Thorne
Pregnancy comes with many challenges — we all know this. The common ones become clichés: swollen ankles, the pregnancy waddle, aching back. But a common challenge amongst many prenatal and postpartum women that’s less talked about is leaking. Whether it’s bending over to pick up your new baby or a sneeze during allergy season, I’m talking about that little leak of pee so many women experience, yet no one really talks about.
Common solutions to this “common” problem include pads or leak-proof underwear to help you “just live with it” or giving up some of your favourite activities to avoid embarrassment.
But I want to tell you that just because it’s a common problem doesn’t make it normal! I also want to tell you that there is something you can do about it. The key is that you need to learn how to engage your body properly, starting with the fundamental part of your body — your pelvic floor and core as a whole unit.
Healing your pelvic floor is about your entire body, your daily movement, and re-teaching your body so that it can anticipate what you need so you can move and function leak-free.
Strength training, along with pelvic floor awareness, is how you can truly fix these issues. Pelvic floor issues are a fitness issue, and can be healed using proper fitness techniques.
Pelvic floor concerns should first be addressed with a qualified pelvic floor physiotherapist, but after that you can learn how to integrate your pelvic floor and core into your daily movement, making any fitness or movement goal a reality again, but now, most importantly, symptom-free.
The core is not just the two parts (front and back) as many believe. It’s actually four parts: front, back, top, and — the most fundamental part — the bottom, also known as the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is attached to the front of the deep core (transverse abdominis) and the back (multifidus). You can think of these four parts essentially as best friends; they’re attached to each other, yet for decades we have been treating them as separates. This is the missing link that is causing us to have these undesirable, often embarrassing and, let’s be blunt, stinky problems.
This four part cylinder is supposed to work together synergistically and when it’s allowed to do so, the body innately works this way, however enter our modern lifestyle, and this whole mechanism goes out the window.
It’s this dysfunction that can lead to leaking and chronic pelvic pain.
Think of it this way, if you had a knee injury and you kept running on it day after day would the injury correct itself? We all know that it wouldn’t! You must figure out the problem, rehab it correctly, and then once your knee feels ready can you start running again. The pelvic floor is exactly the same.
If you’re leaking, this is an injury. It’s your pelvic floor giving you a signal that it needs care and rehab so that it can function as it should again. Your body should be able to hold your pee for you until you are sitting on the toilet; this is something you’ve been doing since you were a toddler.
Here are three steps to apply to your fitness routine right now that will begin the healing process:
2. Body alignment: Having a neutral posture, not exaggerating way or the other.
I have used these steps to not only correct myself without any surgery, but also hundreds of clients that I see on a daily basis. And with a little awareness and understanding of the issue, you too can be rid of this “common” problem.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicole Thorne is a Certified Personal Trainer with nearly 30 years’ experience in the fitness industry. She specializes in strength training and the pelvic floor. She is also the founder of Nicole Thorne Fitness and Pelvic Floor Secrets, where she runs a variety of online programming geared towards women of all ages and abilities. To learn more about Nicole, visit www.nicolethornefitness.com.
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