Pregnancy and childbirth can leave the area below the belt a bit of a war zone. My pelvis hurt during pregnancy, and now, six weeks later, it’s improving but I’m still recovering and experiencing pain here and there. And the process of having to support a lot of extra weight can wreak havoc on the pelvic floor muscles, leaving your ability to hold your pee slightly “compromised.” Luckily for me, I had two DVDs on hand to help me deal with problems below the belt: Aligned and Well: “Down There” for Women” and The Pelvic Floor Piston: Foundation for Fitness. We’ve already reviewed Katy Bowman’s Down There, but I wanted to revisit it from the perspective of a newly postpartum mom. Julie Wiebe’s Pelvic Floor Piston is new to me, but Wiebe herself isn’t, as she’s given me tips before on pelvic pain during pregnancy.
Down There for Women
First up, Bowman’s Down There for Women. Bowman explains how your body’s muscles work together to function — and how throwing off one part of the machinery can have far-reaching consequences. With this “everything’s connected” mindset and approach, she takes an approach to the body and pelvic floor health by getting back to the basics. No kegels here; instead she starts with “Rx…ercises” that at first don’t seem to be too related to the pelvis. I had obviously been attributing most of my aches and pains to pregnancy, but when I did the first exercise — a simple calf stretch — I realized that even my basic alignment and flexibility left much to be desired, which wasn’t doing anything to help up above. She also explained that when your calves are tight, you’ll overcompensate with other muscles, further throwing everything off. If my calves were that tight, didn’t it make sense that the rest of my body was struggling to catch up? I’m no doctor, but it doesn’t seem surprising that other aches and pains could be caused by this. Looks like I’ll be getting my calf stretch on more frequently and doing some of the other stretching and strength exercises Bowman prescribes. Overall, this was well worth a watch!
Pelvic Floor Piston
Next, Wiebe’s Pelvic Floor Piston DVD. Much like we think Taking Charge of Your Fertility should be mandatory reading for women, watching this DVD should be mandatory viewing. Wiebe does a fantastic job of explaining how the pelvic floor, transverse abdominals and diaphragm work together to create a piston — and she also reassures the viewer that it isn’t just moms who have pelvic floor and incontinence issues; they can stem from not using these muscles properly and as a team. Wiebe takes a hard look at alignment and the breath and walks the viewer through exercises to help you not only strengthen these muscles, but also to more importantly learn how to use them together to support your pelvic region. Prior to this video, I never realized how my “neutral position” wasn’t neutral at all and how my typically “tucked under” butt was doing my pelvic floor a disservice. On top of the exercises she shows you — including a “kidney bean pick-up” approach to kegels that made me make a face yet is extremely helpful — she gives you real life advice on how to incorporate the muscles of the pelvic floor, abdominals and diaphragm to support your pelvic health. I truly learned a lot from this video!
Thanks to these DVDs, I’m not going to forgo exercise until my pelvis feels better; instead, I’m going to use these exercises to support my recovery!
Have you ever had issues with pelvic pain or incontinence? —Erin