It’s very common for women with prolapse to be nervous about getting pregnant again. Magdalena Hawley shares her experience of how it is possible to have another baby without making things worse.
It’s very common (and completely normal) for women with prolapse to be nervous about getting pregnant again. They worry how another pregnancy and birth is going to impact their pelvic floor and prolapse. That’s why I want to share my experience. I felt exactly the same.
To be honest we weren’t planning to have a second child. For lots of different reasons but my prolapse was on that list as well.
The second pregnancy was a total surprise. First, when I found out about it, I panicked! I worried about what would happen to my pelvic floor and my prolapse.
So as soon as my GP confirmed the pregnancy, I went to see a women’s health physio straight away. I had already felt the difference in my pelvic floor (which was more due to hormones but I didn’t know that) and I was freaking out. To my relief, when I saw the women’s health physio, she said that my pelvic floor was strong, that my prolapse was hardly visible, and that everything is fine.
When I got to my second trimester, things felt much better. But then the feeling of pressure returned again in the third trimester due to the size of the baby, which I was expecting anyway. I checked in with my women’s health physio at least once in each of the trimesters just to make sure that my pelvic floor was going OK.
In terms of training, I trained through my whole pregnancy. However, as soon I found out I was pregnant I stopped any high-impact exercises (like running, jumping or skipping), and I also reduced the weight I was lifting and increased the number of reps I was performing.
I didn’t train to get fitter or stronger; I just wanted to stay fit, active, and strong during my pregnancy to cope with "mum life", to have better recovery post-birth, and to feel good.
I even kept doing Muay Thai until about 16 weeks (with a go-ahead from my women’s health physio). But I adjusted the intensity. No skipping or fast kicks, and I needed more rest between the rounds (it felt like my fitness level dropped straightaway).
During the later stages of pregnancy, I focused a lot on relaxing my pelvic floor on exhalation. I practiced this so I could do it while in labour, so there was less bearing down, less pushing and less pressure on my pelvic floor. This is called breathing the baby out.
I had another vaginal birth, with another episiotomy (they had to take my daughter out quickly as her heart rate wasn’t stable) and my prolapse didn’t get any worse. I started doing pelvic floor exercises a couple of days post birth. I tried to rest and stay in a horizontal position as much as I could. I breastfed lying down when it was possible (not only at night) and I didn’t go for too many walks. Hubby did everything around the house for the first two weeks while he was at home which was a different approach to what I did after bub number one!
I know that many women with prolapse who are pregnant again struggle with the decision as to whether they should have a vaginal birth or a C-section. I chose vaginal birth as my pelvic floor had already been compromised so I preferred to have a vaginal birth again, instead of having a C-section and compromising my abdominal wall. In saying that, my first birth wasn’t a traumatic experience for me. If it was, then I would probably feel differently about another vaginal birth. In addition, if my midwife and/or my women’s health physio advised me that a C-section would be a better option in my case, I would have trusted them and gone for the C-section. However, I also had clients whose healthcare providers advised them that another vaginal birth should be OK but they chose a C-section because their first birth was really traumatic. That’s totally fine too. You need to do what works for you.
I believe it’s very important to have a trusted team around you. This could be a midwife, OB or doula and your women’s health physio. They can help you to make the right decision and work on your birth plan.
I just want you to know that you can have more kids after prolapse without making things worse. Of course, everyone is different and everyone’s experience is going to be different but it’s possible and I’m not the only example of it.
If you are pregnant or planning to be after prolapse, I would recommend these few things:
Magdalena runs Mums Going Strong Fitness on Sydney’s Lower North Shore. To find out more about her and get in touch, click here.
You can also find her on Instagram.
Body Beyond Baby is the go-to place online for women to find mum-focused fitness services that are all accredited, experienced and partnered with women’s health physios so you know you are in very safe hands. Click here to find a trainer near you.
- Have a trusted team of health professionals and be open with them about your worries and how are you feeling about giving birth.
- Work with a women’s health physio (you can find a list of approved women’s health physios here).
- Stay on top of your pelvic floor exercises.
- In the later stages of your pregnancy, practise breathing baby out (relaxing pelvic floor on exhalation).
- Rest as much as you can for the first few weeks post-birth.