Prolapse in postpartum – tips and exercises for healing.
Vaginal pain or the feeling of heaviness or pressure “down there”, lower back pain and pain during sex, are the most common symptoms of postpartum prolapse. While this diagnosis sounds scary it doesn’t have to be scary. It’s just one of the common issues that occur after giving birth. But wouldn’t it be nice if you knew the most important information about postpartum prolapse recovery and how you can heal yourself at home? In this article you’ll learn about pelvic organ prolapse and get my best tips and exercises to heal it.
Prolapse is one of the common issues that occur after giving birth. It’s absolutely normal to have a degree of prolapse in postpartum. While many symptoms can be uncomfortable, there are some of us who don’t experience any symptoms at all, and that’s normal too. Before you totally freak out about your symptoms and wonder whether you have or don’t have prolapse, let’s clear up what prolapse is.
What is Prolapse and what can you do?
Medical term is Pelvic Organ Prolapse, many of us just call it postpartum prolapse, it is a descent of a pelvic organ (bladder, uterus or rectum) into the vaginal canal.
In severe cases an organ can even hang outside of the vagina. Prolapse can happen due to:
Constipation and hemorrhoids (see my blog about hemorrhoids HERE),
Lifting heavy weights,
Injury to the pelvic floor muscles,
Laxity of the pelvic floor muscles,
Hypertonic pelvic floor muscles (when muscles are weak because its too tight or tense),
Getting into heavy exercises too soon in postpartum.
Because an organ is pushing towards the vaginal wall, you can experience all or one of these symptoms:
heaviness or pain in the pelvic floor muscles,
pain during sex,
lower back pain,
feeling like something is protruding from the vagina,
difficulty to begin urination,
urine leakage during sex.
Unfortunately, many women so often take it as a “normal” effect after birth and believe that nothing can be done about it unless opting for surgery in severe cases.
But I must inform you that pelvic organ prolapse CAN be healed if you take your self-care seriously. With consistent specific exercises, patience and respect to your body.
Of course, there are severe cases when surgery is the only option, but I invite you to explore and try a holistic approach, including strengthening and breathing exercises, before attempting this surgery.
You’re not alone! And you can heal naturally!
Normally if you take care of your body in early postpartum, prolapse heals on its own after you give birth (either vaginal or c-section birth) with no problems. That’s why I always preach about the importance of self-care after giving birth.
Simple things like resting, sleeping when tired, sufficient hydrating, nourished warm foods with plenty of collagen, warm body practices like sits baths or vaginal steaming, massages, gentle exercises and movements like yoga, breathing exercises and many more holistic self-care practices help significantly in healing prolapse and many other issues that occur after birth.
Of course, it would be ideal if you could practice self-care on a regular basis, but unfortunately our world isn’t perfect, and modern moms are faced with a lot of challenges. I totally understand how difficult it is to devote time and effort to care for yourself, because there is a new tiny human with his own needs in our arms, and of course we mothers do our best to meet those needs. There is also housework, cooking, a pile of laundry, looking after other family members, our jobs and so on.
You’re not alone! Many of us moms have similar struggles. I am also totally with you, I have two sons and I can relate to many of your struggles. But I also know that when you don’t take care of your important and immediate needs straight away, you run a chance of being overly fatigued, having troubles with postpartum complications (like prolapse, incontinence, diastasis recti) and your healing can take a lot longer than it should.
My Tips for prolapse.
These are some of my main tips on how you can look after your prolapse and improve your symptoms.
Try and keep an eye on your posture throughout the day. See if you can keep your spine and pelvis neutral whenever possible.
Please don’t lift anything heavier than your newborn baby. Lifting weight pushes down onto your pelvic floor and worsens the prolapse.
Please breathe with an open chest as many times a day as possible. Your open chest breathing helps to manage the pressure inside your trunk and so it will reduce the tension in the pelvic floor.
Use a mini feet bench or squatty potty every time when pooping or peeing.
See a pelvic physiotherapist who will assess and properly diagnose your prolapse
The breathing exercise described below is the foundation to your pelvic floor training.
Ribcage breathing exercise.This exercise will allow your body to manage intra-abdominal pressure and therefore reduce the symptoms of prolapse and diastasis recti. It will bring you into rest and digest mode that will improve healing overall in your body.
Place your hands on your lower ribs or use a belt and wrap it around your ribs loosely. Start inhaling and feel how your ribs expand and diaphragm descends down and your lungs fill up with air.
Exhale, feel how your Pelvic Floor and Diaphragm lift up allowing the air being pulled out of your lungs.
The 3 yoga poses shown in the video below can also help you improve the symptoms of prolapse and healing overall.
When we train our pelvic floor muscles to reduce prolapse it’s important to learn how to relax these muscles too.
Pelvic Floor lengthening and relaxation is so important when we work on healing prolapse.
These are my favorite ways to relax the pelvic floor:
Grab your thick towel and fold it or stack up the towels/blanket by the wall.
Sit on the side of the blanket, with knees bent and gently roll on your back, so your shoulders get to the floor.
Place a block/small pillow between your hips. Place your belt around your ankles or hips. So your legs look like they‘re a hip width apart, but don’t need to be held.
Extend your legs up the wall.
Make sure that your buttocks is as close as possible towards the wall.
Your whole pelvis is totally on the blanket.
There should be a space between your chin and chest. Your chest should be totally open and relaxed.
If your hamstrings are tight, you can either slightly bend your knees or move the blanket away from the wall a little, but don’t slide your pelvis off the blanket, as it will create an angle and your organs will push onto your diaphragm.
Extend your arms with palms up.
Relax and breath.
Stay 5-10 mins. You’ll love it I promise!
To come out, bend your knees first, remove your belt and block and roll on your side and slide to the floor. Stay here for a few more breaths before getting up.
Please be careful with everything you do. There should be no discomfort. If any discomfort please come out of the pose.
Please don’t do it if you have high blood pressure, heart or neck problems or if you’re menstruating.
Restorative child’s pose is very good for prolapse and relaxation of the abdominals. Practicing this restorative pose with relaxing breathing allows the abdominal, back and pelvic floor muscles to totally release. It also helps to bring the nervous system down which is so important when you’re trying to heal.
Please know that there are different and simple exercises you can do to help with prolapse. But exercises are only half the effort. There are some other things that you can do during your busy day to help with prolapse.
In conclusion, please note that you’re not alone, I’m with you as well as many other women across the world. With proper self-care, specific exercises, consistency and patience, you can heal postpartum prolapse! I’m here for you and can help you with this challenge.
Take care and reach out to me if you have any questions.
I’m here for you.
Here you can download the FREE guide
25 Essential self-care practices for healing prolapse naturally.
In this 10 pages PDF guide you’ll find tips and essential self-care practices that you can implement into your daily life easily and heal prolapse.
It is a PDF format, printable version.
I’m Katerina, I’m a certified yoga teacher and a self-care consultant for moms.
I specialise in yoga for pelvic health, yoga for prolapse, incontinence, diastasis recti and overall well-being in postpartum with a holistic approach.
I help moms, like you, to recover after pregnancy, gain physical strength and unload emotional tension.