Ask the expert: pelvic floor recovery
Is it normal not to be able to feel your pelvic floor after childbirth?
Pregnant women are usually told to work on strengthening their pelvic floor by doing pregnancy kegel exercises, and many do. But many moms report, post delivery, that despite their efforts they can’t seem to feel their kegels, making pelvic floor recovery frustrating. My first piece of advice is: don’t panic! You are not alone. I hear this from so many new moms, especially those who have had vaginal deliveries and multiples. With each pregnancy kegels can also get a little harder, (especially if you have not healed the muscles in between pregnancies) as the muscles are stretched and re-stretched.
First off, make sure you are doing your kegels correctly. They are small but deep. Think about contracting the muscles that stop the flow of urine, as well as those that stop you from passing gas. If you want more details on how to do kegels, you can watch my video here.
The key is to start DOING them, even if you can’t feel the muscles working right away. For my C-section mamas, you may not have as difficult of a time, but you can relate because you may not be able to feel your abdominals contracting in the beginning. The key to both pelvic floor and abdominal recovery is consistency. Keep doing your exercises until it clicks and your muscles finally talk back to you!
Put one hand on your abdominals and one on your behind when you’re doing your kegels. Remember that you don’t want the abs and butt to contract as you kegel. It’s very internal – which is why it’s so challenging! And make sure you breathe throughout the entire process.
If you are worried, I recommend you check in with your OBGYN, midwife, and even better, a pelvic floor specialist. You’ll want to also have them check to make sure you don’t have a prolapse (where the uterus, bladder to rectum drops down from their normal spot) or a diastasis recti (watch here). Remember you know your body better than anyone, and if there is an issue you want to have it checked out as soon as possible. Both of these conditions are fairly common after pregnancy and could affect your ability to kegel.
Lastly, a pelvic floor specialist may eventually recommend you using pelvic floor weights. I like the Lelo Luna Beads but there are several options.
I hope this helps. Just remember, you are not alone. All postnatal recoveries are challenging and kegeling is part of the process and recovery. Be patient.