Proper pelvic floor muscle function is very important in women. Why do I need a pelvic floor examination?
The pelvic floor is made up of two layers of muscles: the pelvic diaphragm and the genitourinary diaphragm. The muscles of both diaphragms provide support for the uterus minor, ensuring that it functions properly. The urethra, rectum and vagina pass through both layers of muscle, so the pelvic floor muscles are responsible for holding urine and feces.
During pregnancy, the pelvis increases in size. After the birth it should return to its pre-pregnancy shape. However, regardless of the form of delivery (natural or C-section), genitourinary complications can occur, which is why a pelvic floor exam after delivery is so important
In many cases, pelvic floor rehabilitation is recommended. It is especially recommended for multiparas (women who have given birth to more than one child) whose pelvic floor is weakened due to previous pregnancies and deliveries. Pelvic floor rehabilitation is also recommended for women who have had pelvic floor surgery and those in menopause.
Every postpartum woman, regardless of the form of delivery (cesarean section, natural childbirth), should see a urogynecological physiotherapist for a pelvic floor muscle check. After delivery, the new mother should avoid lifting and maintain correct posture. One of the most common complications after a caesarean section is increased tension in the pelvic floor muscles, which manifests itself as painful periods.
The most common form of pelvic floor examination is the six-grade Modified Oxford Scale. During the test, a doctor, midwife or physiotherapist determines the contraction efficiency of a selected muscle group, or continence efficiency. The muscle strength test is done for diagnostic purposes.
If any impairment of the genitourinary system is detected as a result of the tests, the patient is referred for a urodynamic study. To prevent disorders of the genitourinary system, rehabilitation during puerperium is very important.
Pelvic floor rehabilitation is one of the most important steps in a woman’s recovery from childbirth. Thanks to the rehabilitation, the new mother has prevention against stress urinary incontinence, prevents lowering and prolapse of the pelvic floor. It also accelerates the return to sexual performance after childbirth.
The early postpartum period is the first two weeks after delivery. During this time, prophylaxis against urinary incontinence and exercises to prevent thrombophlebitis are recommended. In women who have had a cesarean section, prophylactic exercises to prevent urinary incontinence and exercises to stimulate lactation are recommended.
The middle and late postpartum period after natural childbirth is from 3 to 6 weeks after delivery. However, in the case of cesarean section, this period is from 3 to 8 weeks after delivery. During this period, isometric and active pelvic floor muscle exercises (performed while standing up) should be used. It is worth exercising by tightening the muscles of the vagina and anus, while relaxing the abdominal muscles and buttocks.
Main photos: Anete Lusina, source: pexels.com