(And Maybe a Flat Tummy Too...)

The French medical system devotes an entire 10-20 professionally-guided sessions to la rééducation périnéale or postpartum vagina education. Following this course of therapy, abdominal reeducation begins with a further 10-20 sessions. This program successfully reduces incontinence, postpartum depression, sexual dysfunction and organ prolapse (look it up!).

In contrast, our American system eschews rehabilitation, instead focusing on a return to normal physical activity. With no guidance in between, many of us exercise to get our outermost layers smokin’ hot and yet we’re unable to jog around the block without a maxi pad. So what’s the skinny?

Warning Signs

You may have pelvic floor dysfunction if you experience the following...

  • Incontinence: Urinary or fecal (with cough, sneeze, running, laughing)
  • Urgency: Having to rush and not quite make it to the bathroom
  • Frequency: Going more than every 2-4 hours
  • Pain with sex, pain with orgasm or inability to orgasm
  • Pelvic, hip, lower back and/or SI joint pain

Resources

WATCH | A succinct five-minute video of the perfect abdominal workout appropriate for all women: prenatal, postpartum or non-natal. Do it 3-5 times per week.
VISIT | Back to Life Physical Therapy in San Francisco and Oakland. Kaiser patients are covered by referral at this practice.
VISIT | Pelvic Health & Rehabilitation Center in Berkeley.
READ | Postpartum Strong, from the inside out. Real talk about your pelvic floor and all the fun organs it supports.
READ | A hilarious Slate article about the French postpartum care system.