Well technically the whole pelvic area but that doesn’t catch your attention as well does it? 

Right. Now I have your attention, let’s talk about the pelvic floor. Why is it that we will go see a doctor for a sore back, ear ache, cough etc but we leak urine when we don’t want to or feel like our insides are falling out and we put it down to being ‘normal’ after childbirth?

We don’t know what we don’t know. We are not intentionally setting ourselves up for pelvic floor dysfunction or injury. Knowledge is empowering & I am on a mission to educate and empower as many women as I can, to open up the often taboo subject and talk about the pelvic floor as normal as if it were your knee or your shoulder. 

Perhaps if we grew up with a better understanding of our bodies and how they work we would have the knowledge to make more informed decisions about our health and how we move. How cool would it be if we knew beforehand:

  • How our bodies change and function at different life stages; 
  • How our bodies change during pregnancy and postpartum; 
  • That the 6 weeks postpartum mark isn’t the magic number for our body to be ‘back to normal’ (what even is normal anyway?). 

It’s my mission to empower women to better understand their bodies. To enable them to be able to ask the right questions and make decisions that will positively impact their health not only now but in the future. 

A common scenario I see with Mums is that they try high impact/intense activity to ‘lose the baby weight’. It’s what they know and perhaps what has worked well for them in the past. Out for a walk with bubs in the pram, they start to add some running to lose the weight quicker. Most women don’t understand how their bodies have changed through pregnancy and birth (I didn’t!) and therefore don’t understand the potential risk of injury. If you knew that trying to run at the 6 week postpartum mark might mean that you injure yourself and that injury has the potential to affect you for the rest of your life, would you still run? It would be just like returning to running soon after a knee reconstruction, without any rehab. It’s the same for returning to your pre-pregnancy exercise routines as soon as you have had your 6-8 week clearance from your doctor or midwife. 

Understanding your postpartum body better means you can make a more informed decision around your exercise choices (and more effective weight management…. But that’s a whole other article topic). You would know:

  • to make sure your pelvic floor is ready for high impact activities, 
  • the benefit of seeing a women’s health physio, 
  • the importance of rebuilding your strength before commencing a gradual return to running program,
  • that high intensity exercise isn’t the one and only way to lose weight
  • the benefit of time and compassion/love for your body

I developed pelvic organ prolapse after baby number 2. Not only did I experience the physical symptoms of ‘my insides falling out of my vagina’ but the mental and emotional toll it takes on an already sensitive and sleep deprived postpartum mind. Despite working in health and fitness for years, I had not heard of prolapse and didn’t know where to go for help. I believe we can do better. I’ve become extremely passionate about sharing my journey with pelvic floor dysfunction and everything I’ve learnt along the way to empower women & ensure we all understand our bodies better so if we do experience injury or dysfunction, we will be better prepared to deal handle it. 

I know I can’t prevent all pelvic floor dysfunction or injury, however, I do believe having these sometimes uncomfortable conversations will certainly prevent or lessen the extent of pelvic floor dysfunction experienced by women.  

Of course, I believe that learning about our bodies more when we are younger would definitely be beneficial for all women, however, as I see many mums at the child bearing stage of their lives, I believe this is a great opportunity to check in with our bodies to understand them better so as we move through life (through more children and into menopause) we set ourselves up for the best health outcomes possible. 


What is the pelvic floor & why should we be talking about it:


The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that sit within the pelvis, a bit like a hammock. These muscles support the organs within the pelvis and assist with bladder and bowel control and sexual function. The pelvic floor is part of your core system  and works in together with your diaphragm and deeper abdominal muscles to support your body through all movement and control intra-abdominal pressure. 

What is pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD): 

Pelvic floor dysfunction occurs when the musculature of the pelvic floor are unable to perform their normal function. 

Signs and symptoms of PFD:
  • Leaking (urine, feces or wind)
  • Feeling of heaviness or dragging in the vagina
  • Urgency to go to the toilet
  • Unable to empty bladder/bowel completely
  • Pelvic pain
  • Painful sex
  • Reduced sensation in the vagina
What to do if you experience any signs/symptoms 

See your GP and/or women’s health physiotherapist. Being diagnosed with pelvic floor dysfunction does not mean you will require surgery. Yes, some women do, but there are many non surgical things you can do to help you manage your symptoms. 

Can I still Exercise?

Of course! There is always something you CAN do. In fact, for most people with pelvic floor dysfunction exercise is actually really beneficial. Life (especially with kids) requires us to move our bodies every day so finding a way to improve our movements whilst managing our symptoms is important. It might look different to what you are used to but please don’t be scared to exercise for fear of making it worse. See a women’s health physio for individualised advice and work with a trainer who understands the pelvic floor (aka Me!).


Pelvic floor myths


I’ve had a c-sect, my pelvic floor will be fine.

Pelvic floor weakness can occur from the added weight of a growing baby throughout pregnancy. So even if you didn’t birth a baby vaginally, you can still experience a weakening of your pelvic floor. 

Kegels are the best way to strengthen a pelvic floor. 

Kegels or pelvic floor exercises do have their place, however, they may not be best for every body. We are all so different, so seeing a women’s health physio for a better understanding of YOUR body will help with an individualised plan for your pelvic floor. You can actually experience symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction from a pelvic floor that is too strong (see next myth).

PFD is a sign of a weak pelvic floor.

Yes, pelvic floor dysfunction can be due to a weaker pelvic floor. However, you can also experience similar symptoms from a pelvic floor that is too tight/strong. Our pelvic floor needs to be able to contract AND relax, moving through it’s full range of movement


Your mission, if you choose to accept


With almost half of women experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction in their lifetime, I encourage you to keep this conversation going. Talk about it with your Mum friends – whether you are 6 weeks or 6 years postpartum, chances are you are not alone in your experience. Talk about it with your mum, aunties, siblings, daughters. Let’s reduce the stigma and EMPOWER each other.