The changes new moms experience in their bodies are numerous. Some of them can be surprising and potentially embarrassing to talk about.
However, here at Legacy, we aren’t embarrassed to talk about these topics, because this information that needs to get out there for women so that they no they are not alone and that there is help. Read on to learn about 4 Intimate Things New Moms are Too Embarrassed to Talk About…
1. Bladder Leakage
Many women develop stress incontinence after childbirth, where they leak urine when they cough, sneeze, laugh, run and jump. This is often because the pelvic floor muscles just got stretched out and weakened from the delivery. To combat stress incontinence, try gentle Kegel exercises to help strengthen pelvic floor muscles. Try to avoid putting excessive stress on the pelvic floor when lifting your new babies. You can prevent straining the pelvic floor muscles by exhaling upon exertion. Both of these things can help you to get rid of bladder leakage faster, if you’re experiencing it postpartum or hopefully prevent you from experiencing it at all.
But, if you are having issues with bladder leakage, lasting more than six to eight weeks postpartum, you do want to talk to your healthcare provider about it because there are things you can do, such as working with the pelvic physical therapist, to make sure that your pelvic floor muscles are doing what they need to be doing.
2. Flatulence and Queefing
It’s completely normal to lose temporary control of gas when the pudendal nerve has been damaged or compressed as a result of the baby passing through the vaginal canal. When this happens the pelvic floor muscles can become weak and are not strong enough to control passing gas. In a more extreme case, women may experience loss of fecal matter as well.
After childbirth, the vaginal canal is stretched out and it can take a while to resume its normal or almost normal size again. As a result new moms may end up having episodes of queefing. Queefing is a term that some people may be familiar with, but others may not. Another way to think of it is a vaginal fart. As we move air can get trapped in the canal and then as we move again, it can get released and we can get that vaginal fart.
Fortunately, lack of gas control, and/or queefing should resolve within a month or two. It can take longer in lactating women because they are still under the influence of hormones that causes connective tissue to loosen up. If not, let your doctor know. You can also try pelvic floor strengthening exercises, listed above. Another suggestion is to avoid placing too much stress on the pelvic floor muscles, with activities such as lifting heavy or returning to high impact exercises.
3. Diminished Sex Drive
Not having the urge to have sex can happen for a couple of reasons. First of all, there are tons of hormonal changes a woman has to deal with postpartum. It can take up to three months after childbirth for your hormones to rebalance and even longer if you’re breastfeeding. Specifically, the hormones produced in lactating mamas suppress estrogen and testosterone and this lowers desire and can cause vaginal dryness.
Pain can be another causative factor. Women often feel pain with intercourse after delivery as a result of scar tissue issues or pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. Scars from healing tears or episiotomies can be very painful if they are not stretching and moving well. Even if you didn’t have a vaginal delivery, the scar tissue from your C section scar could also be pulling and causing some pain and issues.
It also can be related to tension and pulling on the muscles and the muscles may actually tense up because of that. They may be in a spasms position and this could be from the delivery itself because birth can be traumatic. Sometimes the muscles need a little bit of help to learn how to move better and be able to stretch and give to make intercourse more comfortable.
4. Pelvic Pressure
We hear a lot of new moms saying their pelvis just feels heavy, and they’re feeling a lot of pressure. They may notice a bulge in the vaginal canal if they look down there. Oftentimes, this is worse as the day goes on or worse if they are more active or are doing more lifting.
The vaginal canal gets very stretched out with delivery and it can take a little bit to tone the canal back up. We can have some increased laxity, or give, in the walls and it can lead to something called pelvic organ prolapse where some of the pelvic organs like the bladder, or the rectum, or even the uterus are tipping into or coming down into the vaginal canal.
Sometimes this does take a little bit to heal. Sometimes there needs to be surgical options to heal. But oftentimes women can do a lot on their own to make a difference here, especially in the early postpartum time frame. Learning proper lifting form and strengthening your core and pelvic floor can make a big difference for many women.
If you are experiencing bladder leakage, lack of gas control or vaginal farting, diminished sex drive/pain with intercourse and/or pelvic pressure or heaviness, you should talk to your healthcare provider about it and look into partnering with a pelvic physical therapist. We can help you get back on the road to recovery, doing all the activities that you want to do and enjoy without experiencing these symptoms. We are here to help you out. If you would like to talk more with one of our experienced therapists, give us a call at 636-225-3649 to set up a time to talk.