Anita Lambert is the owner of Holistic Health Physiotherapy, creator of the Bump to Birth Method, and co-host of the To Birth & Beyond podcast.
She’s a mom of two and a perinatal pelvic health physiotherapist with a focus on prenatal and postpartum care and completed physio doula training which blends orthopedic physiotherapy expertise and birth doula support and now assists this course for other physiotherapists in Canada.
She’s passionate about helping you connect with your body including pelvic floor plus keep you active and comfortable during pregnancy while you prepare for birth and help you navigate your postpartum recovery and return to exercise, sport, and dance without pain or pelvic floor symptoms.
She hears daily from pregnancy and postpartum clients “why did no one tell me?” about what our body might experience – whether aches, pains, leaking pee with exercise or healing from a vaginal tear or caesarean birth.
No one can guarantee how your birth will go however having worked with hundreds of pregnant and postpartum clients in her physiotherapy practice plus going through her own experiences, she’s seen how working together with your body (rather than ignoring it) benefits not only you in pregnancy but also during birth and postpartum recovery.
This is why she opened Holistic Health Physiotherapy and created her Bump to Birth Method online program.
Join us as we chat all things Holistic Health Physiotherapy during pregnancy and postpartum and how you can use this valuable resource.
You can find more about Anita here:
Find Anita on IG @holistichealthphysio
To Birth & Beyond podcast
Connect w/ Trish:
For more pregnancy & birth education, subscribe to The Birth Experience on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Next Steps with LNM:
If you are ready to invest in your pregnancy & postpartum journey, you are in the right place. I would love to take your hand and support you in your virtual labor room!
If you have a scheduled cesarean, take our Belly Birth Masterclass and own that experience.
If you are a newly pregnant mama or just had the babe, you want to join our private pregnancy and postpartum membership, Calm Mama Society.
Remember, my advice is not medical advice. Always discuss what you learn with your team. See my Disclaimer here! Also, We make a small commission from some of the links (you don’t pay any more for using our links); however some of the recommendations, we do not earn anything; we love ’em and want you to know about them.
Trish: [00:00:00] My name is Trish Ware and I am obsessed with all things pregnancy and birth, and helping you to navigate with the practical and the magical seasons of this journey called motherhood. I'm an all day coffee sip and Mama of seven. I've had the amazing privilege of delivering many babies in my 15 plus year career as a labor and delivery nurse, and as a mama of seven.
I'm here to help you take the guesswork out of childbirth so you can make the choices that are right for you and your baby. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and does not replace your medical advice. Check out our full disclaimer at the bottom of the show notes.
Hello everyone. I am super excited about today's topic, and more importantly, today's [00:01:00] guest, Anita Lambert is joining us and I'm gonna let her say hello and introduce herself, and then we're gonna dive into a super meaty topic. Hello, Anita.
Anita: Oh, thanks for having me on, Trish. So excited to be chatting on your podcast.
Trish: Oh, I love it so much. So today we're gonna talk about. Three powerful ways that Mamas can prepare their pelvic floor for birth, but we're not gonna leave them there. We're then gonna talk about three ways that they can heal their pelvic floor post-birth. And so can you go ahead and tell everyone who you are, what you do, all
Anita: that fun stuff.
Yeah, so I'm a pelvic health physiotherapist. I'm here in Ontario, Canada, and yeah, my focus is preconception pregnancy and then postpartum and really, 10 to 15 years after having your little ones. Are those I see in clinic. And and then I also have a podcast two birth and beyond that.
Trish, you've been on? Yes. And I've got two little ones as well. My daughter, actually, as we're [00:02:00] recording this, she just turned seven this past weekend and then my son just turned four. And definitely they keep us on our toes. And and then I also have an online program called bump to Birth.
And so that really takes those key strategies, exercises that I teach my clients in clinic. And puts the put it's in an online program format. So you do it at your own pace, really helps you, address some of the things we're gonna talk about today. Pelvic floor pain issues in pregnancy, prepare for birth, and then that first, initial six weeks postpartum recovery that no one hears about really what to do.
And then you're in it postpartum and you're like, what does no one talk about this? So that is also what I do. In my online program. So really, as you can tell, my passion is really around that, trying to conceive pregnancy, postpartum stage in life and really incorporating that pelvic health side that again, no one hears about.
I think, every time, I get dms or clients come in and they're like, I really thought I was gonna hear more from my care provider about this. I thought I would hear more from other people. And and you, it's usually between [00:03:00] girlfriends that they start chatting and go, you know what you really need.
I highly recommend learning about this before you have the baby. Go after you have the baby. All of that to really learn key information that we all should be hearing about way earlier. We don't learn anything about the pelvic
Trish: floor. No. And what's so maddening about that? Is it goes across the board when it comes to.
Maternal health in general, just to put a term on it, because I feel the same way with childbirth classes, which you know, my passion also is the same range as your passion, and I can't tell you how many times one of my students or my members will say I really, when is my provider gonna start telling me things and teaching me things and I'm thinking probably never, but what I love about what you're doing and what I love about the women who are having babies now compared, which I have an eight year old, but I, my oldest is 32, so I've gone [00:04:00] through this, a lot of different changes and one.
Marked change that I see now is that women are getting more and more aware that they don't just have to deal with it because it, and I'm putting up quotes, it's part of pregnancy, and so I really love what you're doing because. We shouldn't just say, oh, you had a baby, you're gonna pee on yourself.
Or, no more sneezing. Without peeing, or any of those things that we were previously told just comes along with having a baby. And I am so glad that you're here because, and go you to everyone who's listening because you're taking. You're taking your power and utilizing it by gaining knowledge because knowledge is power.
And then taking a step further by doing something about these things that happen during pregnancy. Like you said, these pain issues like. The number one response that we get from our [00:05:00] providers is that's just normal part of pregnancy. And so I love that you're here. So I could go on and on about this, but let's dive deep into first those three most powerful.
And forgive us cuz we may go off and add more. But the three top tips that you give to a pregnant mama who is preparing for birth pelvic floor wise, pelvic
Anita: floor wise. Yeah, I know cuz Cause we could go on about all the ways, right? Yeah. Yeah, I'd say, number one, learn where these muscles are and how to use them.
Because again, we, there's this kind of blanket statement, everyone, not everyone, some people get told, go do Kegels and that's it. And then they're, what does that even mean? And you start Googling or you don't, you just try to start squeezing muscles somewhere. Yeah. Hoping that is what you're supposed to be doing.
And just like anything else, I think when we understand why we're doing something and how to do something, you get way more out of it. Because [00:06:00] most, when I ask clients, it's one of the first questions I'll ask them and they'll go, I think I've been doing them, not totally sure. I do 'em here and there cause I don't really know.
You're not motivated to do anything. That I would say would be the first thing. So I'll describe it cuz I know with podcasts it's a little bit different, but these muscles, so they attach from your pubic bone in the front and they go right to your tailbone in the back and then side to side sit bone to sit bone.
So if you can picture, that's like a diamond shape under your pelvis, that's why it's called the pelvic floor. There's actually three layers to these muscles and really important, like they stop us from leaking pee stool and gas. They support our pelvic organs or our bladder, uterus, rectum and baby, while you're pregnant.
They support our back, our pelvis. They also help with circulation within within our pelvis and also have a sexual role. So they, contribute to pleasure, but also if there's tension in these muscles, it can contribute to pain. And when we talk about postpartum. So
Trish: I'm totally interrupting you.
Yeah. These guys are super important. That's some really [00:07:00] important stuff right there. Cuz none of us wanna pee on ourselves. None of us wanna just randomly have gas. Yeah. And. Of course we don't wanna poop on ourselves, but we also want to enjoy sex. So yes, this is okay, all of you guys stop what you're doing.
We have to pay attention. Like this is so important.
Anita: It is. And like I always think back to like health class, right? And it's like you, we would talk about, and I mean before I did my physiotherapy, my masters in that we did, I did kinesiology and even within all that it wasn't touched on a lot.
And you think back to health. Class, throughout elementary and high school is always you're back and then they skip over this like pelvic area and you go down to like your quads and your hamstrings, right? So even if we could start just learning like these are muscles, it's, not something that we should be ashamed of learning about.
These are muscles that, as I just said, have pretty big roles with our life and. Like thinking of those functions too, right? It's not the same as spraining your ankle and feeling like, [00:08:00] okay, I can't really walk for a little bit. These are functions that we all want to have to enjoy life, to enjoy exercise.
And so I think the unfortunate part about it is when someone is dealing with those symptoms, it can sometimes be hard to even bring them up because no one talks about them. And then if you do bring them up and you get Skipped over being like that's just a part of how it is.
That doesn't help the situation at all. And if anything, bur it further down. So to know these muscles are really important. They do all those functions, but then the other part to it is they work with the rest of our core My clients, my students know I don't talk about isolating the pelvic floor because just like any other part of our body, these muscles work as a team.
So they work with the rest of your core. So the image I like to use is if you picture like a canister in your abdomen, we've got the bottom of our canister is that pelvic floor I talked about. The top is your diaphragm or your deep breathing muscle. Then the center is our deep abdominal muscle. There's a few layers to that, but I'll oftentimes we'll talk about that deepest [00:09:00] layer so that top, bottom and center really need to work together.
To help us do, day-to-day things, but in pregnancy support ourselves. But again, even in pregnancy, our body is changing. Our center of gravity is shifting. And we want you to be able to still do all the things you enjoy doing and not feel like you're restricted. So we look at that whole canister, and that's where that deep breathing comes.
Really, it's so impactful with the pelvic floor, so I often will teach your breath with your pelvic floor to get the most efficient way of connecting to your pelvic floor. And going back to that Kegel idea, yes. Pelvic floor muscle strengthening is what I tend to call a lot of physios, we'll call it, instead of Kegels because I like to look at the breath with your pelvic floor.
So that is really important to be able to contract and relax these muscles. But then also when it comes to birth itself, that relaxation component is really helpful. If we think of a vaginal birth, those muscles actually [00:10:00] stretch quite a bit to let baby out. And there's this misconception that our pelvic floor pushes our baby out.
It does not. It's essentially think of opening the door for baby to exit. We need to know how to lengthen these muscles. There is help in strengthening those muscles for different reasons, but not necessarily specifically for pushing the baby out. And I think that's where, when I see second, third time moms.
They're like, no one taught me how to think of relaxing these muscles in any capacity. It was always about tighten tighten. And then I get to birth and that's all I know how to do. And then I get told my pelvic floor is too tense. And that's why, pushing didn't go the way they wanted it to go.
All these things, right? So we really need to learn. Those muscles are meant to contract. And relax. And when it comes to birth, that relaxation component really comes in handy cuz that's what you wanna focus on during labor and drain pushing. I
Trish: love that so much. I tell my girls all the time too that the same thing, like it's [00:11:00] about opening the door and not blocking the door and.
It makes so much sense that I love your picture. I'm such a visual learner, so I love the picture of this canister and how it all works together because as you were talking, I was like, this is exactly pushing, like all of those work together for pushing too. And for those of you guys, this is why like I love when people are pushing on the toilet because our brain automatically relaxes our pelvic floor.
Like we have trained it from our. Early toddler days to relax the pelvic floor when you're on the toilet. So that's why that works so good. So for all of you guys listening, I tell all my students to at least three to four contractions per hour sit on the toilet. But I have done some really incredible toilet deliveries in the hospital with some really progressive midwives.
And it's the most beautiful, easy pushing. Like it's a little hairy [00:12:00] for the delivery part, but it works. We do it. But I love that. That's so good. So that is a fantastic starting place for you guys now, what would your next tip be?
Anita: Yeah, so I would say with, learning now what those muscles do, then it's okay, how do we connect?
Like what do we do first? And I always mention before I talk about how to connect to these muscles, this is the start, right? Some people are like, okay, I'm just gonna learn how to breathe, connect to my pelvic floor, and that's all I need to do. There are so many more parts of preparing your body, including your pelvic floor for birth, but I wanna give you that foundation.
In terms of the pelvic floor muscle training I mentioned. So I call it a more efficient Kegel cuz everyone again still hears about Kegels. But if you think of connecting that breath with the pelvic floor as you breathe in, The pelvic floor relaxes like your diaphragm. That deep breathing muscle has to lower to let air in, and our pelvic floor relaxes with it, so they both go down or relax.
As we [00:13:00] exhale, the diaphragm lifts as air comes out of us and our pelvic floor lifts with it. Now I'll give you a visual on how to connect your pelvic floor with this, which often people will say will feel the opposite. So if you're listening to this and you're trying this out and you're like, I wanna inhale on the opposite part of it, don't worry.
It is not just you. It can take some practice. So this idea, as you inhale again, pelvic floor relaxes as you exhale to engage your pelvic floor. I want you to picture two blueberries. That's usually the image I start with. Yes, you will look at blueberries differently, but it's worth it. That's okay. You're gonna picture a blueberry at your vaginal opening and at your anal opening, because remember when I first mentioned that diamond shape of the pelvic floor, the back of our pelvic floor goes right to the tailbone.
So that mean it co it covers that anal opening. So that's why, leakage of gas and stool tailbone pain can all be part of a pelvic floor issue. So you're gonna think two blueberries. So as you exhale, you're gonna squeeze and lift [00:14:00] both blueberries up and in. Then as you inhale, you're gonna put them back down.
So I'll go through that again. That's so fun in there. Thank you. I know. So whether you're sitting or standing, you can try this, you can try it lying down. But I usually get my clients, my students upright pretty quickly because that's where we spend our day. So as you inhale, Blueberries stay at the opening, and then as you exhale, you're gonna squeeze and lift the front and back, blueberry up and in, and then inhale to put them back down.
So there's so many names for that. I call it the core canister breath. You may hear so many different kind of versions of that, but I like calling it that versus a Kegel, because then you're always gonna pitch your breath with your pelvic floor. And what we go beyond that, we won't dive into it today to keep it foundational, but then you bring it into movement like squats and lunges and any type of strengthening movement or sometimes symptomatic movements during the day, like lifting.
Especially postpartum. [00:15:00] Sometimes we'll bring it into an actual movement. So it's important to know you start stationary, but you really wanna bring it into movement that's gonna make it even more impactful over time. So that's connecting it in terms of, we call like the strength component. But for the, for labor, for birth, the image I like to use to help you focus on just the relaxation component.
So there's no blueberries, you're not squeezing and lifting anything. It's all not picking up blueberries during labor. No picking up.
Trish: So just releasing a big old blueberry. Yes big blueberry.
Anita: And what I like to do, the image I like that works so well for clients is this flower bloom broth idea.
As you inhale, you picture a flower blooming out of your vaginal opening, and then as you exhale, you picture it staying open, and then you inhale open another flower. Nice and wide exhale. You keep it staying open and as a pelvic physio, so we are trained to assess clients' pelvic floor internally.
When that, in terms of [00:16:00] with physiotherapy one-to-one, we go over what that means, consent, all the things. But what is helpful is when we check internally, when I have, when I give that cue, clients will often, their muscles will relax and stay relaxed. So I don't feel any clenching, any drying up and in.
So this is really helpful. When you think, again, of birth with a vaginal birth, you wanna think of lengthening. It's staying open. You don't wanna be thinking of clenching. So that image I find really helpful in just practicing that. Sitting like Trish mentioned on the toilet, that's one of the most common places my students and clients will practice, especially initially when you're having a bowel movement.
So good. And if you're dealing with constipation and pregnancy, which is super common, this actually can be really helpful for that because oftentimes one aspect of constipation is clenching or pelvic floor tension. So there's a lot of benefits to this and then eventually, practicing in labor positions and pushing positions, but by practicing it in pregnancy, then when you get to [00:17:00] birth, You may need someone to remind you during labor, they notice you tensing.
They might say, come back to your flower, bloom breath, but your nervous system has done it so many times. It's not something new for your system to do. You just may need that reminder.
Trish: I love that so much because I teach a very similar thing for labor coping. Technique breathing techniques, but I'd love for you to just walk through the breath again, because I know a lot of people get confused, so I just thought maybe you could do it one more time for them.
Anita: Do you want the flower bloom one? Yeah. Yeah. I think it's a really important one. Yes. Yeah, this one I would say if you're listening to this, if you're standing, if there's an option to sit, it will be easier to do versus standing. Our muscles are on a bit more to us cuz we're against gravity.
But sitting can be great. So this idea, you're gonna think of a nice inhale, nice deep breath in. And as you do that, you're gonna picture a flower blooming to out of the vaginal opening. So if you're sitting, it would be towards the seat. [00:18:00] And then as you exhale, you're picturing the flowers stay open.
Now something a lot of co or commonly a lot of people do is they wanna push the flower out. And when I say you're practicing this, not during pushing, like when you're actually just practicing this, you don't wanna push it out. This isn't a bearing down, it's an opening and a lengthening. So you won't feel a ton happening.
And likely, if that's the case, you're probably doing it right. That is good to know. Yeah. It's just a, it's a relaxation type of breath. Versus there's no squeeze and lift. You're not bearing down. It's a very much an opening and a relaxation breath. Yeah, so sitting I would say initially is probably the best place to practice.
Trish: Perfect. And I love how I don't know that I've ever heard anyone else put so much importance on the breath with doing that, and I'm putting in quotes, Kegel. I think that's really important because if they can learn that early on, that's gonna benefit them forever. [00:19:00]
Anita: Yeah, definitely postpartum and often with my clients too, when I see them one-to-one for some we are starting with the breath because sometimes adding on the pelvic floor component to it, it's a lot for their system.
And rather than doing the opposite of just doing the pelvic floor and then adding the breath, I don't find it as beneficial. That breath is like number one for it because when we get the diaphragm moving better, All the other moving parts work way better later. And I just find breathing is not, again, we always hear about ke go Kegel, that aspect of it, never about the breath.
And that's where I find things are a bit backwards because when you get to for example, postpartum, back to running or jumping. If someone is leaking with those movements, I'm actually more focused on their breath than their pelvic floor. Because it's such a quick movement, you have more effects on your pelvic floor using your breath during those versus engaging your pelvic floor during those movements.
So yeah, I would say number one [00:20:00] is
Trish: breath. I love that so much, and I feel like we're gonna have to split this episode into a two part because it's so full of good information. I have a student right now, she's six months postpartum and she's had leaking issues and it has been just a really difficult journey for her and I'm.
She's been doing all the things, but I will have to say that it took her, she asked for a pelvic floor referral during pregnancy. Could not get it. Could not get it. They ended up referring her to a, like a gyne or urologist or something. And it took her until postpartum to get that referral and it's so maddening.
So anyway, that I, that, that's a whole nother story. So tip number three. Yes. Where do we go now?
Anita: Yeah. So yeah, so I would say, even bringing those into movement really would be the next step. But I'll even say in terms of, because getting that foundational step will be good. [00:21:00] I'll say just.
Movement in general. I'll go through, cuz this actually does impact the pelvic floor too. And I would say mobility work would be key. So I talk about strength work is helpful in pregnancy for lots of reasons. So I'm talking about Using weights with that really helpful to do. Strengthening helps with aches and pains.
Helps you to keep doing what you wanna be doing. Also I always talk about, in my head, I'm always thinking ahead and I don't know if that beca came before being a physio or since becoming a physio, but I think postpartum. I know how much you're gonna have to carry. I know all the awkward movements you're gonna need to do, and if we don't prepare your body and pelvic floor and pregnancy, then you get to postpartum and it's a bit of a shock to the system.
Strength training in general is great. And again, we can bring in that. Core canister, breath to it. But mobility work, I find is what often gets missed. And if you're wondering what mobility means, it's really about moving stretches in a way. So you could picture prenatal yoga. There's a lot of [00:22:00] mobility work in there like Cat Cow, a lot of people familiar with.
Trish: Okay. I just have. Yeah, so I'm like sitting here going, is she talking about pelvic floor strengthening with weights and mobility? Oh, is, wait, where are we at right now, Anita? Talking
Anita: about the whole body. Okay. Good terms
Trish: of. Are, is there weights we could do in our pelvic floor? Cause this
That is another discussion. So there are weights that does exist for the pelvic floor. I find that is not typically something I use with clients just for multiple reasons. I think it creates more of a clenching with the pelvic floor. But some listeners may have heard of using weights with the pelvic floor.
So I think there's plenty.
Trish: Okay. So I just wanna make sure. Yeah, where we're at. Yeah, we're talking about our whole body. The
Anita: whole body. Okay. But why I brought it into about the pelvic floor side of it is because again, we can't just isolate or think of the pelvic floor. Doing whole body movements actually helps the pelvic floor too,
Trish: With that.
So you're doing that with your clients? [00:23:00] Yeah. Yeah. That I had no idea. That's so
Anita: interesting. Yeah, we do like whole body. Even before I became a pelvic physio, I was what we call orthopedic or I know in the US too, M s K physios. So I didn't do internal work. I was all external. Pilates, rehab, sport, rehab, dance, rehab was my background.
So now I bring that into this population and the pelvic health side, you have to look at the body as a whole. So if you're seeing a pelvic physio and they're only zooming in terms of the pelvic floor, Really ask them to be, looking at your whole body and the whole body should be brought into it.
So yeah, I definitely do strength training with clients. And then also the mobility side. So like I said, like the prenatal yoga, those things. Some people want to go and do classes, but even if those who don't, I will always give, just really honed in specific exercises, easy to fit in at home that you can do each day.
Because again, preparing for birth, we need to prepare the whole body, right? So thinking of different labor positions, [00:24:00] pushing positions If we're feeling restricted, especially in pregnancy with, lunges, with squats, with so many different movements, then you get into labor and you're not suddenly gonna be able to feel, comfortable or be able to access all those.
So that's another reason why I bring a lot of that mobility work in is so then in labor you're not feeling restricted into what positions your body may wanna get into.
Trish: Oh, that's so wise. I love that so much. And it just goes back to that whole like looking at pregnancy and all this journey as a holistic journey because I feel like with my classes, I do the same with mindset and mental prep and realizing you can't prepare for birth if you don't prepare physically and mentally because it, it takes all of it working together.
So I love that. Okay. Yes. So now we have prepared by learning to work tip number one Yes. Was working this canister.
Anita: [00:25:00] Correct? Yeah. Even tip number one was just learning about these muscles. Okay. Learning where, and how to use them. And then yeah, in terms of tip two, how to engage, the pelvic floor muscle training, but also relaxation.
And then tip number three is then bringing the whole body into it.
Trish: Yeah. I love that so much. And I'm really curious. To go into the membership, into our pregnancy postpartum membership. Cause I have a lot of members and students who are seeing a pelvic floor specialist. I'd like to pull them and ask them if they've heard that because I don't feel like they've shared that with
Yeah. And I think it, it depends on everyone's training too. And I know depending where people live, you know how it's approached. And I do think it helps That I came in, I didn't graduate and then go right into pelvic health because maybe it would've been more just like just pelvic floor. But because I had all that other experience with the sport and dance and the Pilate side, that it was just natural for me to then bring more, bring the pelvic health into that versus the pelvic health and then [00:26:00] try to add other things into it.
Cuz I think that. Probably would look different. And I would agree. I think if you only learn about the pelvic floor and not everything else, there will be things that are missing with that.
Trish: Yeah, that it, it just makes so much sense. Okay. So now we've talked about preparing. Yeah. Now mama has had the baby.
Yes. Now where do we go?
Anita: Yes. Postpartum. So the great thing about that learning about in pregnancy is then we're gonna almost go back to. Kind of step number two, which is then, reconnecting to your breath and to your pelvic floor. So a lot of people get told, do nothing for six weeks and then magically at six weeks your whole body is healed.
And then we can go back to running, 5k, all these things. And there's an in between. So there's actually lots you can do in that first six weeks for your body to help with healing. That is very safe to be doing, very effective to be doing. And again, it goes back to starting with your breath, right?
You think babies come out. Your diaphragm now has some more [00:27:00] space for those who were cramped in the ribs at the very end. I know what that feels like with my first, it's hard to breathe. You feel like you have no space. So baby comes out and I always say, put these in with things you're doing throughout the day anyways.
You should not be taking half an hour out of your day for exercise. You just gave birth. Change baby's bum. Do five to 10 deep breaths feed the baby, do some blueberries, things like that. Bring in the, just the deep breathing, the blueberries, even the flour bloom afterwards. During that initial part, I would say that would be tip number one.
Trish: So how quickly after birth can you start picking up and laying down blueberries again? Literally
Anita: the day of. You can because also think too, so going back to that blueberry idea, that squeeze and lift and relax, it's actually cre helping the circulation within your pelvis so it creates a pumping effect to actually help with healing.
Now, something for people to know too, if you just gave birth and you try to pick up your blueberries in your leg. Where are they? I cannot [00:28:00] find them. That is normal. They just stretch to let baby out. And if you did have any stitches, again, there's some other compromises to the tissue. So it's not uncommon to not feel as strong, but again to, start getting that brain pelvic floor core connection and it will improve over time with that.
So technically, yeah, you can start literally the day of.
Trish: Yeah, so I, on a side note, did start doing key goals immediately with all of my kids yeah.
Anita: Yep, exactly. There's nothing, it's a very small movement and it just helps with so many things. So you can start with that, but you don't have to do it right away.
You could do it after a little bit. And then the next step would be going back to that kind of strength and mobility aspect. So I often will have clients, I'll give them, Kind of a, like almost an exercise series. It's also my bump to birth program too, like a six week series. Super streamlined again, like couple exercises if that each day that are really working with where you're at in the healing process.
So [00:29:00] you'll see things like cat cow bridging things that are not intense by any means. There are movements you're likely do or moving through each day anyways, so we're just, taking some conscious. Specific time to go through some, but that take maybe five minutes if that.
So shouldn't take a lot of time, but that, I would say would be the next step. So these gentle strength or mobility exercises throughout that initial postpartum period. But again, to know beyond six weeks. Also really important. Our body is not fully healed at that time. So I would say that would be tip number two.
And then when it comes to even knowing, like with that six week kind of postpartum appointment with your provider, again, everyone, it's gonna be different, what that's gonna look like. I would say typically they are not looking at your pelvic floor, they're not looking at your core. Even when someone has stitches, I find that's not even looked at all the time.
I always tell client you can ask. I would say sometimes clients will be like, eh, like it's okay. I'm gonna [00:30:00] be seeing you for more detailed assessment anyways. So they don't always, but I always say that is really helpful if you can and if you aren't able to see a pelvic physio at that point. Because we wanna know, Hey, how are things healing?
Like your care provider, one of their main roles is to make sure, again, no red flags, no infection. Are things healing properly? Is there a stitch that needs to come out? So having that looked at. But if you do if you've had a cesarean birth or a vaginal birth and you have had stitches even learning a bit about scar massage really helpful at that point as well.
And so with your care provider looking at that area, they'll be able to let you know, okay, the initial healing has happened. So you could start some scar massage with that, which is really gentle, but. I'm always surprised, especially after cesarean, no one gets told about scar massage unless they, as a physio, all my clients learn about it.
But so many times people, it's like years later and they're like, no one ever told me to do anything with my scar.
Trish: Yeah, it's, it is very surprising. We have a section in that, in our belly birth [00:31:00] masterclass talking about it and when to start, because if they don't, There are there are so many like residual effects and even so when you're pregnant again and you're in labor, that scar can really be a pain.
So I love that you're bringing that up as well. We're really passionate about that
Anita: too. Yeah. Addressing the scar and then, if you can see a pelvic physio, that can be great. They can really give you that individualized information about the pelvic floor in court, how things are healing. If that's not accessible to you.
There are so many. Postpartum online resources and courses. Now, we do a ton of podcast episodes on two birth and beyond about postpartum as well. So to really just learn more about your pelvic floor and core postpartum, and then how to get back to movements, I find one of the most common ones is running that I see with clients and everything from, I see some really high level runners, but I also see those who are like, I just wanna be able to leave my house and go for like a run, like a 20 minute run and just, for my mental [00:32:00] health, for my physical health, but not deal with leaking pee and all those things.
To know six weeks is too early pretty much for anyone. We've, looked at guidelines in really six weeks. There's still more healing to happen. And how I guide clients is, that pelvic floor and core, I initially talked about strengthening mobility work. We need to get your balance to be much better before you're running, cuz you're landing on one foot.
So running is usually three to four months postpartum at the earliest that we're back to
Trish: running. Oh wow. Yep. I don't think many women hear that.
Anita: No, it's six weeks, right? Everyone gets the six week green light. And for people to know too, like that green light pretty much everyone will get it unless there is something extremely, an extreme complication going on, how much merit does it have? What does it even mean? And every care provider is different with their background, but I would say majority do not learn about exercise. They do not learn about that component of bringing the pelvic floor health into movement, whether it's jumping, running, strength, training.
So more [00:33:00] that six weeks should be like, The initial healing has happened, like your stitches are not infected. However, like there is more, like when we look at actually how any type of compromise to the tissue heals. I don't like to equate birth to an injury, but when we look at tissue healing, it's similar in terms of whether you've had stitches or not.
There will be differences within that because of the compromise, but even without stitches, I always say like even at six weeks, our tissue is not as flexible, as strong as pliable as it was before. So if we're putting demands like jumping and running on it at that point, It may not feel great.
There may be symptoms with it just because our body isn't ready yet. And my clients would rather wait those couple months but not do nothing. Like I said, we're doing strength training, we're doing so much to get them back so then they can run and they actually, aot of them feel better running postpartum than they did pre-pregnancy because they have way more awareness of their pelvic floor, way more mobility, way [00:34:00] more strategies when it comes to their running.
So that's always exciting when they're like, I never thought I'd feel better after having a baby and running versus I did before. So
Trish: what about, so let's say they do start running at six weeks and they're not ready. What are the results of that?
Anita: Yeah, everyone's gonna be different. So yeah, for example, could be leaking pee, there could be pelvic pain, back pain, groin pain.
There could be a number of things and that's really where, Seeing a pelvic physio could be really helpful cuz you're getting that individualized care. And before, like with seeing someone again ask in terms of find out if that's something that they work on, if they do help clients often get back to those activities.
Just so you know, you're working with someone who, again, looks at the whole body because we can't just hone in on the pelvic floor. And get back to running. There's so many pieces to it because I'll give an example. Like I've had clients who are, let's say, leaking pee with running. I do full body assessment.
Their pelvic floor is working great. That's [00:35:00] not the piece, right? It's almost like the pelvic floor is the victim, but when they're landing and I'm looking at like their leg and their knee and their ankle, like how things are landing, and I'm like, okay, we need to like get certain parts stronger.
We need to be able to land with much better alignment. It's the breathing, like their breathing patterns are poor, so there's more pressure on their pelvic floor. So sometimes the pelvic floor gets given the bad rep of have a week pelvic floor, but it's just the pelvic floor is required to do too much because other pieces aren't doing their job.
And the only way to know that is when we look at the whole body and retrain the whole body.
Trish: Oh, I love that so much. I get asked the question about when they can return to running a lot and I am not a runner and that is not my forte. I've spent more time with postpartum mamas now. Yeah. For, I tell people all the time, like a labor nurse, we spend two hours with you and then you go on to postpartum.
That's that. Yeah. So now doing what I'm doing, I feel like I'm just. Becoming more and more knowledgeable myself in the postpartum arena. Yeah, and I think [00:36:00] it's worth the weight. Like you said, they're not just doing nothing. They've got a plan and I think it's worth the weight so that you do protect something that is so precious to all those areas.
Yeah. We already talked about. Yeah. That is so amazing. Like I love all of this, like this is so meaty.
Anita: Yeah. I just think for people to know, again, it's like. The pelvic floor is one aspect, but it's it's part of our whole body. There's so many more moving parts to it, and I think we still have a ways to go for that to be the norm.
But I've just seen over and then I've had two kiddos myself. It's like you gotta look at the whole body, not just the pelvic floor to get back to those activities and feel really good doing it. And then you think postpartum if you're planning or thinking you may wanna have another little one.
I really encourage you, don't wait till you're done having all kids to, to then address these areas. So many find it more effective is like in between each pregnancy, rehab, the pelvic floor and core rehab, the whole body, get back to feeling strong and [00:37:00] mobile address symptoms and then go into another pregnancy.
And that can often feel better versus like them building on each other and dealing with the same symptoms throughout and then undoing it. It is never too late though, for people to know. But if you have the option of in between each one addressing those issues I've had clients who feel better in their third pregnancy than their first because they know way more about their body going into their third.
Trish: I think that's so brilliant because I think that. Probably more often than not, and probably not from professionals, probably from like old wives tales, like people in our lives, we are told like you're gonna have more babies. So it's just, that's just part of it. So deal with it after. So I think that's brilliant to say no deal with it in between so you can have a better next pregnancy.
So anything else that you feel like our mamas need to hear? I feel like I was, while you were talking, I was like, man, we should do a podcast on pelvic [00:38:00] floor and running because I know you have to get a thousand questions about that, but I get a lot myself, so yes, it's very and I don't know all the answers to that.
Anita: So that's, yeah, no we've done a, I'd be happy to, we've definitely done a number on our podcast about it cuz Jess, my co-host who's a pre and postnatal fitness coach. It's really great cuz We'll we. We coach and she doesn't treat because she's not a physio, but how she approaches her clients very similar to what I do and a lot of the strategies involved as well, because yeah, running, I just think people just feel like just go run and it's there's so many things we could do before to make you feel so much better doing that.
So for sure we could always do that because yeah.
Trish: And I'm thinking that you said that a lot of times with these women who are leaking urine, when they're running postpartum, they come to you and their pelvic floor is fine. So my first thought was, wow. I bet a lot of people go to a pelvic floor therapist thinking then they're told it's fine, but the problem doesn't go away.
Anita: [00:39:00] Yeah. It's interesting. I'm even thinking right now I have one client, she's her her child's much older now, but she is a very avid runner. She's training for she runs about 50 K a week. She's training for an Iron Man. Wow. And she's been dealing with leaking and like her pelvic floor.
When I assessed, I'm like, This isn't the problem. However, we did, I did teach her how to better effectively engage it, so that is part of her rehab. But when I looked at her like alignment with jumping and. Different things, like lunges is a big thing that kind of mimics running. And I could see all these pieces that I'm just like, no one has addressed these before.
And that's where I think every time she like foot strike, it's all these forces are going through and like her pelvic floor is like having to deal with it. So it's one of those things where, yeah, you gotta look at the whole picture with running, with jumping, with any movements because otherwise you're missing a piece.
And and then the pelvic floor has to be, the
Trish: victim. That's so interesting. So you're saying like the pelvic floor is compensating for all [00:40:00] those pieces, but because it's compensating for things, it shouldn't be compensating for it's Jo own job is being left behind. Yeah. And then the P comes out.
Wow. So that's very it. It makes total sense when you think of it that way. So that's so great. Thank you so much for coming on today. This was incredible. Yes. I'm super excited to hear feedback because. We just have to take care of our bodies, like our bodies are. It is just so important, and like I said, like a lot of my listeners and a lot of my girls know that I am like.
When it comes to going poop and having gas, like I'm such a phobe. Yeah. For myself, if my patients poop or have gas, I don't care. Yeah. But I do not want to be having gas randomly in front of Steve Ware as I get older. That is not on my plan for retirement, so I appreciate you today. Thank you so much.
Anita: Thank you, Trish.
Trish: Hey Mamas, I hope you enjoyed this conversation with Anita Lampert talking all about the importance [00:41:00] of your pelvic floor. This is something I am just. So passionate about, do not accept the little phrase that, oh, that's just part of pregnancy and motherhood. Take care of it. Deal with it.
Do what you can. Alright, you guys, as always, we are so excited to have you here with us. Please hit subscribe, leave a review, and I will see you again next week. Bye for now.