Men (if there are any reading) you probably want to skip this post, you have been warned!
I’m a little jealous of my mom friends who have gotten back to running and high-intensity workouts. I’m at 5.5 months postpartum and while my body LOOKS pretty much the same as it did pre-baby, I’m still healing. I know I should cut myself some slack, but I’m just ready for my body to perform in the same ways that it did before Adeline was born! I had my annual gynecological exam last week and my doctor (the same doctor who delivered Adeline ) was asking about how everything was healing.
My physical therapy for pelvic floor weakness is going well (even though I’ve been really bad about doing my exercises lately). I’ve been running a bit more, and things ‘down there’ have been slightly uncomfortable on a few occasions. It kind of felt like I had a tampon that was about ready to fall out. My doctor diagnosed me with a mild uterine prolapse where my uterus wants to slip down into the vaginal cavity during activities with lots of impact (ruining, jumping, etc.) That “tampon” feeling I had? Not a tampon, it was part of my uterus. My doctor said that ‘a lack of excess supportive tissue in the pelvis, and stretched ligaments (due to the stress of pregnancy + long labor & delivery) do a poor job of holding the uterus up in its correct position.’
Even though I’m in physical therapy for a weak pelvic floor , strengthening alone isn’t really enough to keep my uterus where it needs to be. This is probably way TMI, but I am now the owner of a vaginal pessary . Don’t worry, I had no clue what a pessary was before I went in for that appointment. So, my doctor fitted me for a pessary. A pessary is ‘an elastic or rigid device that is inserted into the vagina to support the uterus’. ( Wikipedia ) It’s totally removable, and not all that uncomfortable! the doctor (and PT) said that it will help to keep the uterus in the right position, and hopefully those tissues and ligaments will continue to heal in the correct position so that they can hold up my uterus on their own.
Mine looks just like this one:
The pessary is intended to provide extra support during exercise, and hopefully I won’t need to wear it forever! Breastfeeding increases ligament laxity, so ligaments tend to stick around in that relaxed state. I’m planning in using the pessary under the direction of my doctor for as long as we feel I need the extra support. I’m hoping to not need to use it for running/exercise after we are finished breastfeeding, but I’ll gladly continue to wear it if it will help me to avoid having surgery once my childbearing days are over.
I’m really thankful that my doctor was able to suggest a “treatment” option that will hopefully help prevent pelvic problems further down the road. I just have to remind myself that my body grew and is still nourishing my precious daughter and that I need to give it the respect it deserves. I’m really hoping that I’ll be able to increase my running (it’s my “thing”), but I’m really looking forward to another round of Bootcamp in the meantime! (2 weeks left to sign up!)
I found MyPessary.com to be pretty helpful about learning about the different types of pessaries. But the most helpful resource were the forums on ProlapseHealth.com . I laughed a little bit reading through the forums, because apparently a pessary is a device that older women often use. Many of the women posting were talking about how they were embarrassed to need a pessary at a young age (most were 35+). Imagine how I feel wearing a “grandma” device at 25! Obviously, I’m not that bothered by wearing one, I’d rather try to prevent other problems further down the road!