Pelvic Power: Restoring and Strengthening your Core after Pregnancy

Pelvic Power:

Restoring and Strengthening your Core after Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey that brings about numerous physical and emotional changes in a woman's body. In Worcester, Massachusetts we’ve been the physical therapists helping so many women pre and post pregnancy gain their power back. You shouldn’t have to miss out on those spin classes, runs, HIIT workouts, and strength training workouts because of pain, stress incontinence, or fatigue. We definitely don’t want you unable to keep up with your child either. So, whether it’s going for a run around Lake Quinsigamond or picking up your child to just comfort and love them- Clash has got you covered. We are here to provide you with some knowledge and clarity. Our door is always open for any new and precious clients. You are able to request an appointment if this is something that resonates with you. 

While the experience of childbirth is incredibly rewarding, it often leaves women grappling with postpartum challenges, one of which is weakened pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor plays a vital role in supporting the bladder, bowel, and uterus, and it can undergo significant stress and strain during pregnancy and childbirth. However, restoring pelvic floor strength is not only possible but also essential for maintaining overall health and quality of life. 

Our expert physical therapists in central mass have all the tips and tricks to help you restore your pelvic floor. Don’t worry, physical therapy won’t be another added challenge or chore. We are here to help you and meet you where you are at before, during, or after your pregnancy. You won’t have to worry about long wait times, not enough attention, or leaving with a sheet of 12 different exercises while having to go home and do all your other duties.

In this blog, we'll delve into the foot-to-core connection, drawing insights from experts like Dr. Sarah Duvall and Dr. Emily Splichal, to understand how re-establishing this connection can aid in postpartum pelvic floor recovery.

Understanding the Pelvic Floor and Its Challenges

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that forms a sling-like structure at the base of the pelvis, supporting organs and maintaining continence. During pregnancy, hormonal changes, weight gain, and the pressure exerted by the growing uterus can lead to stretching and weakening of these muscles. Additionally, the act of childbirth, especially vaginal delivery, places significant stress on the pelvic floor, potentially causing tears or damage.

Postpartum, many women experience issues like pelvic pain, stress incontinence (ie. crossing your legs when you sneeze etc), and even prolapse due to pelvic floor weakness. These challenges are not uncommon, but they shouldn't be accepted as a new normal. The belief that "common" is the same as "normal" is a misconception that needs to be addressed. Just because these issues are prevalent doesn't mean they are inevitable or unresolvable.

The Foot-to-Core Connection

Enter the concept of the foot-to-core connection – a revolutionary approach to restoring pelvic floor strength and function after pregnancy. Dr. Sarah Duvall, a renowned physical therapist, and Dr. Emily Splichal, a leading podiatrist and human movement specialist, have shed light on the profound impact of the foot-to-core connection on pelvic floor health.

Dr. Duvall emphasizes that the feet serve as the foundation for the entire body. The way you walk, stand, and move impacts the alignment and function of your pelvic floor. Dr. Splichal takes this a step further, highlighting the importance of proper foot mechanics in engaging the deep core muscles, which include the pelvic floor. When the feet interact correctly with the ground, it sends sensory signals up the body, activating the core muscles, including the pelvic floor.

The Link Between Foot Mechanics and Pelvic Floor Function

The connection between foot mechanics and pelvic floor function might seem surprising, but it's rooted in the body's intricate biomechanics. During walking or any weight-bearing activity, the feet play a pivotal role in distributing forces and maintaining stability. If the feet aren't functioning optimally – whether due to poor footwear, previous injuries, or improper alignment – the chain reaction can extend up to the core and pelvic floor.

Dr. Splichal explains that the feet are equipped with numerous sensory receptors that provide feedback to the brain about the terrain. This sensory input influences muscle activation patterns, including those of the pelvic floor. When the feet connect with the ground effectively, the brain receives accurate information, allowing it to recruit the right muscles for stability and support. Yes, we know what you’re thinking. Can footwear affect this? Well, it sure can. We discuss footwear more in detail here. 

Restoring Pelvic Floor Strength Through the Foot-to-Core Connection

So, how can women leverage the foot-to-core connection to restore pelvic floor strength post-pregnancy? Here are some key step

  1. **Footwear Awareness:** We must emphasize the importance of wearing shoes that allow the feet to function naturally. Avoid overly cushioned or rigid shoes that hinder sensory feedback. Opt for footwear that promotes proper foot mechanics and allows for sensory stimulation. 

  1. **Mindful Movement:** Dr. Duvall suggests practicing mindful movement to re-establish the foot-to-core connection. Engage in activities like walking barefoot on various surfaces, practicing balance exercises, and performing foot mobility drills. These activities enhance sensory input and activate the core, including the pelvic floor.

  1. **Breathing Techniques:** The significance of breathing techniques in pelvic floor recovery cannot be understated. The rib cage and pelvis posture are affected during pregnancy and breathing mechanics are affected. Deep diaphragmatic breathing not only supports core activation but also aids in relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles. Focusing on breath during movement also helps synchronize the foot-to-core connection. 

  1. **Proper Alignment:** Dr. Duvall stresses the importance of maintaining proper alignment throughout the body. Whether you're standing, sitting, or walking, ensure that your feet, hips, and spine are aligned. This alignment supports optimal pelvic floor function. Being aware of your posture is particularly important during activities where load is involved such as lifting and carrying. Sound like something moms do quite a bit of?

  1. **Progressive Exercise:** Gradually incorporate exercises that target the core and pelvic floor muscles. These exercises can include bridges, pelvic tilts, and specific movements that engage the deep core. The foot-to-core connection enhances the effectiveness of these exercises.

The journey to restoring pelvic floor strength after pregnancy is a holistic one that involves understanding the intricate connections within the body. The foot-to-core connection, championed by experts like Dr. Sarah Duvall and Dr. Emily Splichal, offers a fresh perspective on addressing postpartum pelvic floor challenges. By recognizing that common issues aren't synonymous with normalcy, women in the Worcester area can take proactive steps to regain pelvic floor strength and function.

Through mindful movement, proper alignment, footwear awareness, breathing techniques, and targeted exercises, the foot-to-core connection becomes a powerful tool in the journey towards postpartum recovery. It's time to shatter the misconception that weakened pelvic floor muscles are an unavoidable consequence of pregnancy. With the right knowledge and practices, women can reclaim their pelvic health and lead active, fulfilling lives. 

This is where Clash Physical Therapy comes in! If you are struggling with any of these things or even if you are having pain post partum and are unsure if it’s related get checked out! We want to help. 

Simply request an appt here if you're interested in seeing how the pelvic floor physical therapists at Clash PTHS can help you today.