Pelvic health during pregnancy

Pregnancy is a journey for the body whether you have had an easy journey and maintained your fitness or whether it has been a more challenging time.

It is important to know the signs and symptoms to look out for when things aren’t quite right, and how to get help and advice if you are concerned.

Many of these symptoms are thought of as a ‘normal’ part of pregnancy but are easily resolved if given the right support, especially early on.

We have designed a series of short videos to support you with many aspects of pelvic floor health and dysfunction.

Your pelvic floor

Everyone has a pelvic floor – it is a group of muscles forming the floor of your pelvis from front to back.

They are really important muscles for:

  • Control – they help to control wee, wind, and poo
  • Support – of the pelvic organs (bladder –wee, bowel – poo and womb – baby), helping to keep them in the right place
  • Sexual function – they help to improve pleasure and sensation
  • Delivery of your baby – the muscles help work with labour contractions to birth your baby

Pregnancy and childbirth

Pregnancy is one of the key things that affects our pelvic floor and how it works. Sometimes when the muscles don’t work correctly, we develop symptoms – including leakage of wee, pain with sex, reduced confidence in controlling our poo or wind – this is called ‘pelvic floor dysfunction’

Pelvic floor dysfunction can affect anyone who has a baby due to the pressure of your growing baby and the change in your hormones.

Giving birth vaginally can cause extra stretch to your muscles and sometimes the tissue may tear or be cut during the delivery which may take longer to heal and recover.

Pregnancy perineal massage

The perineum is the area of skin and muscle between the vagina and back passage. Massaging the area from 35 weeks of pregnancy has been shown to help to reduce the risk of tearing or the need for an episiotomy (cut) as massage helps the tissue to stretch naturally.

See below for more information:

Getting help

We often feel embarrassed to talk about symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction and sometimes people think the symptoms are normal.

Reasons why we don’t ask for help include:

  • I’m too busy with my new baby
  • What if treatment is painful?
  • I didn’t know I could get help
  • It’s just too embarrassing to talk about
  • I thought it was normal