Help - I have just had my baby and I can't feel my pelvic floor!

Isabel (not her real name/story used with permission) was shocked after the birth of her baby that she couldn't feel her pelvic floor muscles. She was expecting them to feel normal after the birth and was not prepared for the fact that she couldn't feel anything when she did her exercises. Now unlike a lot of women, Isabel had done her pelvic floor exercises regularly during her pregnancy, and had felt that her pelvic floor muscles were actually quite strong and working well, even at the end of her pregnancy.

What happens during labour is that the pelvic floor muscles help to guide your baby through the pelvis to be born. The muscles are designed to stretch and open up to allow your baby to be born, but sometimes they will stretch more than others. This can cause a weakness and 'numbness' of the pelvic floor muscles, as the nerves in the pelvic floor have also been stretched. This accounts for the lack of feeling experienced by Isabel.

Isabel contacted her Physiotherapist for an appointment and had her pelvic floor muscles checked a few weeks after the birth. The Physiotherapist was able to see that her pelvic floor muscles were working, even though Isabel couldn't feel anything happening. All of the exercises that she had done during pregnancy had paid off, as sometimes the muscles don't work at all if they get stretched a lot during the birth.

The Physiotherapist advised Isabel to continue doing her pelvic floor exercises as she was doing them correctly. The feeling would come back over time, and the exercises can help this.

The next week Isabel came back, feeling a lot better. She had felt reassured after the Physiotherapy appointment, and was now starting to feel her pelvic floor muscles again.

So if this happens to you, make sure you check that you are doing your exercises correctly, and continue to do them as the feeling should come back. It does vary as to how long it takes, from days to weeks, and sometimes even months to really feel them well again. Remember to seek help and further advice if you don't feel you are making progress. A Physiotherapist working in the area of Women's Health can help you, ask your Midwife, or see your Doctor.

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