Giving birth can be one of the most fulfilling and momentous times in your life. You get to meet the little one that was camping out in your belly for nine months, and you get to envision a happy, healthy future for you and your family. What you may not expect is the toll that pregnancy and labor can take on your body. If your body has been going through changes after labor, and your pelvis feels heavy, you may have encountered the term "prolapse." What is postpartum prolapse?
When you are pregnant, explained Parents, the weight of your baby can weaken your pelvic floor muscles — the muscles responsible for propping up and supporting your internal organs — and these weakened muscles can cause your bladder, uterus, or bowel to shift, causing urinary incontinence or bulging of the vagina or bowels. This is called a prolapse of your organs, and when it happens after your baby is born, it's called postpartum prolapse.
So why does postpartum prolapse even happen? According to The Pregnancy Centre, there are many things that happen postpartum that could cause it. Along with the stretching and pressure of ligaments during pregnancy and delivery, increased activity and lack of rest after the birth, straining from heavy lifting or bowel movements, and returning to high impact exercise too soon after delivery can all lead to postpartum prolapse. Pregnancy Centre added that some women, despite taking precautions, are prone to prolapses due to their naturally soft connective tissue, which is easily stretched during and after pregnancy.
The good news is, mentioned Parents, that in 50 to 70 percent of women, mild prolapses can heal after almost six months of doing Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. If you feel a heaviness in your pelvis, bulging in your vagina or rectum, or are having issues with urinating or bowel movements, it's a good idea to call your doctor, who can get you started on the proper treatment.