Let me start with yes & no. Postpartum is forever because... you did it! You have given birth! So while we classify this 4th trimester as a period of time, we are always postpartum after having baby. For a lot of women, postpartum healing does not begin for many years. I hope that is not your case.
Here is what does not last forever:
Bulging of the bladder and cervix into the vaginal canal
Pain from tearing or episiotomy
Bloating due to you having a baby growing in you for 9 months!!
Hemorrhoids from pushing
Boobs hurting from milk coming in and regulating
Emotions swelling and changing
Baby not sleeping
Recently I had a friend reach out to me. She was 2 weeks postpartum. She was worried, as most of us would be, that by the evening her bladder felt like it was dropping into her vaginal entrance (introitus). She could see it there by evening time. When someone reaches out to me worried, here is what I tell them.
From my experience, I had the same thing!! I am a pelvic floor physical therapist, y'all! BUT, remember! You had a baby down there for 9 months, as well as gravity with all upright activities. Your ligaments became more lax, especially during childbirth. So, it is absolutely normal for things to feel different for the first weeks and even months postpartum.
I always like to point back to that time frame of 9 months.
What if we gave our bodies 9+ months of HEALING following childbirth, vs. trying to be the exact same as we were before baby?
Here's what that could look like.
Gentle pelvic floor strengthening + lengthening
Sympathetic nervous system downtraining
Scar tissue massage and healing
Gradual return to sex
Postpartum emotional/mental debriefing (childbirth can be traumatic, no matter how well things went!)
Gradual return to exercise (low impact activities)
Fuel your body with whole, nutrient dense foods
Lots of water
So, no sister! This is not forever. A lot of these things will continue to heal if we give our bodies the space and time to do so. I like to tell women AT LEAST 3 months before anything begins to feel "close to normal", but we also may never be "normal" again- & thats ok!
Here's when to seek additional help:
Excessive bulging of the belly/DRA
Excessive bleeding (more than lochia)
Urinary incontinence that is unresolving
Prolapse (bulging of the bladder, bowel or cervix into the vaginal canal) that is persistent in the first 2 months (unresolved)
Persistent and altering anxiety &/or depression
Excessive weight loss/weight gain (while maintaining normal diet)
Pelvic pain (with or without sex)
Tight or weak pelvic floor
If you are a go-getter and can't sit still, see diaphragmatic breathing, kegels, and TA. Start there, and gradually apply those tips and tricks to activities. I always caution, though, self-assessment is very important, because if your muscles are too tight, kegels will not be effective and could contribute to the problem. If you feel a good squeeze and good resting tone following, you may be able to work on this at home!
Feel prepared to tackle postpartum? Its a process, mama. Give yourself the time, space, and grace to heal both mentally, physically, and emotionally. No matter what your birth story, YOU DID IT. & I want you to be proud of that.
For guidance to postpartum products, such as tucks pads, briefs, and healing tools, see my product guide here!
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This content is created in order for individuals to learn more about the pelvic floor. I am in no way giving medical advice or medically assessing the pelvic floor through this blog. If you ever have any health questions or concerns, please consult with your physician or midwife. If you are ever unsure if you are performing exercises correctly, it may be beneficial for you to get a referral from your physician to a pelvic floor therapist for further evaluation. My blog posts are for educational purposes only! I am not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.