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The one thing I wished I did differently after having my first baby

When you have a baby a second time, there are things you learn to do differently from your first pregnancy, such as, feeling the need to decorate a fully decked out nursery with all the bells and whistles (you don’t.) In fact, our family didn’t even need a crib for the first 3-4 months of baby’s life. We ended up being one of those families who *gasp* cosleep. We never thought we would be one of those families, but flexibility is the best trait new parents can have. This also meant that the bassinet went unused (we ended up donating it because baby clutter can get out of control real fast.)

But the one thing I wished I did that no one ever told me I should do was see a pelvic floor physiotherapist. It was only after a course I took, I learned just how necessary this was. So rewind back to baby number 1. When I had my first son, he was a couple weeks early, so I hadn’t even met our doula yet. In fact, I was supposed to meet her for our first meeting the day I went into labour. (A doula is a birth coach and advocate for mom.) My labour progressed quite quickly (too quick for drugs) but in the last moment as he was crowning, his heart rate dropped. My midwife, doula, and nurses told me to push with everything I had. It felt like it was a life or death moment, so I literally pushed with every ounce of my physical being, and ended up bursting a ton of blood vessels in my face. I literally had blood tears rolling down my face. My husband was slightly scared (and disturbed most likely) wondering why his wife was crying blood tears but the medical staff was still occupied with getting baby out. Can you believe with that monster push, he still didn’t come out? Stubborn even from birth. Anyways, this is when the big guns were called in and the OB on call asked me if I was okay with her using a vacuum. I just recall her explaining in detail what this meant and me just yelling “do whatever you need to do!” Thankfully, the vacuum did the trick and moments later, he was staring up at me as he lay on my chest. I still get teary eyed thinking of that surreal moment when I first met my child. But of course it wasn’t all love hearts and cushy feelings from there. In fact, this was the beginning of a week of bleeding, swelling and stinging pees (thank you peri bottle!) This all makes sense though. I literally just pushed a baby out of my vagina, which took 9 months to make. That ain’t no small feat. Yet, a mere 6 weeks later, most women get the ole “good to go” sign off from their physicians to attend body boot camp, crossfit, running club, etc. Don’t get me wrong, these are all great ways to stay fit, but before signing up for all these activities, there’s one more place I’d highly recommend you visit: your local physio. I learned this the hard way. About 8 weeks after I had my second, I went to the gym to join the lite aerobics class. This is not some hard core cardio class guys. This is a bit of stepping, a few jumping jacks and a squat or two. Just enough to raise ones heart rate but not quite enough to break a sweat. About two jumping jacks in, I felt something funny. It felt like my insides were coming outside. I know that sounds weird and a little gross. But I’m trying to be as honest as I can for your benefit. So I decided to look for a pelvic floor physio via good ole Google and found a highly recommended place 10 minutes from my home.
A visit to a pelvic floor physiotherapist is a bit different than seeing a physiotherapist for your back, legs or wrists for example. At my first visit, I had an internal exam and my abdomen was checked to see if I had a diastisis recti (I did). I was also told that I had a minor prolapse (hence the feeling of my insides coming out). And while I was pretty confident my kegels were well trained (thanks to years of Barre and Pilates) she basically told me I had weak pelvic floor muscles and my kegels were barely working. The good news was that with the right treatment and exercises, I could fix all this. I’m not going to lie, the exercises were really annoying (tedious) and I felt defeated a couple times when I learned that my diastisis recti was only a half inch smaller since my last appointment. But by the end of my 8 week journey with my physiotherapist, I no longer had a prolapse, diastisis recti, and my kegels were on fleek (I literally know how to flex them in 5 different ways. My husband is grateful). My only regret is that I didn’t see her sooner, like before I had the baby. You know that funny incontinence thing that happens when you are pregnant and sneeze? Well guess what, it’s actually not supposed to happen. You can prevent it with a quick trip to your pelvic floor physio. Also, this all applies to my C-section ladies. Diastisis recti, prolapses and incontience affect all women who have been pregnant and/or given birth (in any way).  So ladies, do yourself a favor and get some well needed me time by seeing your local pelvic floor physio. Your vagina will thank you.
I pushed this big guy out.
2 Discussions on
“The one thing I wished I did differently after having my first baby”
  • Hey jewel, I’m in the same boat as what you described only I am 4 months post partum, have seen a couple of pelvic floor physios since weeks 6 pp and still have diastasis and prolapse despite my daily physio exercise routine .. Would you mind telling me what exercises exactly you were told to go for 8 weeks to get everything back to normal? Thanks in advance for your help, I’m really feeling desperate by now.

    • Hi Melissa, Thanks for dropping by the blog! I’m sorry that you are not getting the results you want with your physios. I do hope you will try again. If you can, get a good referral to someone who has a proven track record. Full disclosure: my DR wasn’t that big. It was only 2-3 fingers wide depending on where my physio was measuring. But I felt that getting that last inch closed was the most stubborn. I can’t tell you what exercises to do, especially since I am not a physiotherapist, but to loosely describe what I did on a daily a basis was that I took a bed sheet (or thin blanket) wrapped it around my torso and held it taut around my belly as I did breathing excercises with my head lifted. The type of breathing and counting and repetitions were set by my physio based on my progress. Some weeks, it was two steps forward, other weeks, one step back. It was probably one of my least favourite exercises, but it worked. The key is doing them consistently and PROPERLY. I cannot stress that enough. So please do see another pelvic floor physio who has a proven track record with correcting DR’s because it can be fixed by the right excercises according to my physio. I would recommend mine, however I’m based in Ontario. Good luck Melissa!

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