Both pregnancy and childbirth can cause a significant increase in stress on the pelvic floor. The body undergoes a large amount of charge both during pregnancy and up to 1 year after. If you have been training before you become pregnant, it is safe to continue similar activities throughout your pregnancy. However, you may notice additional pain in the pelvic region or experience stress incontinence that was not present prior to pregnancy and/or delivery. These are pre and post natal issues you may want to address rather than suffer through as part of the normal pregnancy process.
Urinary stress incontinence is the loss of urine from physical activity such as coughing, sneezing, jumping, and running. It is the most common form of incontinence, which impacts women more often than men. When women experience incontinence, they often reduce their activity or start wearing protective pads deeming leakage “normal” due to pregnancy. However, there are steps you can take to improve your pelvic health both during pregnancy and after to help you take control of the problem and continue to stay active.
Consider working with a women’s health physiotherapist to determine your specific dysfunction and its cause. Whether you are experiencing lumbopelvic pain or stress leakage, the therapist can help design a specific program for you for both during and after pregnancy.
Additionally, remember that post-natal changes can last longer than the 6 week period after delivery and require caution and consideration as you return to exercise after giving birth. Talking with a physiotherapist to help you safely return to exercise post delivery will help you return to higher level activities without pain or leakage allowing you to get your body back into shape with confidence.