“MY UTERUS! IT’S FALLING!”
I don’t usually talk about my uterus, ESPECIALLY when I fell like it is about to fall out of my vagina!!! Yet around the world, it is estimated that up to 80% of women are affected, and experience some sort of prolapse in their lifetime. Let’s all get down to the simple fact that after a few kids our pelvic floor tends to feel a bit “compromised” shall we say. Many of us give birth a few times and all of a sudden we jump, run, skip around and realize…OMG my uterus! I think it’s falling, along with some of my pee! I thought this only happens in the “golden years”!
After we have our first child everything tends to be put back nicely into place. For many of us, we find that we can can even jump around a bit without having to worry about putting a panty liner on to catch a drop of wee that might fall out but WOW, after my third I took one jump on my kids trampoline and thought I’d better call my husband over with a new pair of underwear for me to put on. The frustrating part is that I’m fit, healthy, young and have been doing my “kegels” on and off for many years. I’m not an extreme case. I don’t have a prolapse, I cannot feel anything coming out into my vagina but I could tell things just felt different as I jumped on the trampoline with my kids…
Unfortunately though, the whole idea of kegels and how many of us are doing them is not only ineffective but can actually make everything worse!! As Christine Kent (the Founder of Whole Woman Inc. with a awesome website and book/DVD series) writes about kegels, “The exercise pulls the bladder toward the front vaginal wall and the rectum toward the back vaginal wall, literally pulling these organs in the direction of prolapse. Many women have reported increased prolapse symptoms after engaging in prolonged Kegel exercise.” So all along we have been told to tighten our vaginas in hopes that it would be holding up all of our insides and yet, this is not the answer! If it were then the millions of women going to get surgery to fix prolapses would not be happening as they would just do their kegels and jump happily away on their kid’s trampoline…without the fear of their uteruses, bladders or bowels falling out!
What is a prolapse? A prolapse is when an organ starts to fall from its original placement behind the stomach wall and into the vagina. You can have a prolapse of the bladder, uterus or bowel. Often women think that birth causes this or having a cesarean will prevent it yet research does not support either of these claims. Birth itself does not cause prolapse but it is likely that HOW you have birthed can; if you were lying on your back while birthing, had coached pushing, episiotomy, vacuum or forceps birth. Of course anyone can experience a prolapse whether or not you have birthed at all. As Christine Kent mentions, “Proper nutrition is a critical player in pelvic health, but equally important are the basic elements of pelvic organ support, which include gravity, the force of our breath, the natural shape of our spine, and the weight of the organs themselves.” So our diets, our posture and the exercises we do daily to help support our organs; are all important factors to our overall pelvic health and strength.
A few important points to remember when building your core strength and pelvic health…
1. As mentioned previously, Christine writes on her website how these exercises are putting your organs in the opposite position that they should go! We need to start doing strengthening exercises that put our organs in a FORWARD position so everything is being strengthened with our organs where they are supposed to be! When we lie on our backs doing kegels or sit-ups we are putting all of our organs right above the outlet of our pelvis where all of our organs can prolapse! Get off your back doing sit-ups and do some exercises in the forward leaning position.
2. Posture! How we hold our bodies is incredibly important for preventing prolapse. View the pic to the left. Please head to Christine’s website for more information on this.
3. Sit on the floor with good posture and get up and down off the floor frequently. I know, I know, this sounds totally weird and random but honestly this simple activity will do amazing things for your core strength. FORGET THE COUCH! Simply get up and down from the floor as often as you can during the day. Why don’t we sit on the floor more often? Because it’s hard work!! It can be uncomfortable because it stretches things we have not stretched, strengthens our core muscles and is great for our overall health. Also, kids LOVE it when we sit on the floor with them. Stay limber! Sit on the floor!
4. Do the following exercises in my little video! Every day try to do these as they will help to prevent prolapse, strengthen your core and make you happy!!!
I have filmed the following video of just a few things you can do every day to improve your core strength and pelvic floor. You can do these while your toddler is crawling around (or over you!) and only takes a few moments to do.
*For more information on prolapse I HIGHLY recommend visiting wholewoman.com
*Is your uterus staying put just fine but you are having breastfeeding challenges?! Please head to my SHOP to book a breastfeeding consultation.