"I wish someone had told me this could happen to my body after having a baby!" . . . "Why did my doctor tell me I could return to exercise at my 6‐week checkup?"
I hear these questions every day as a physical therapist specializing in women's health. The topics: pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence and pelvic pain. Every third female has some type of pelvic‐floor dysfunction, which may include one or all of the previously mentioned diagnoses (American Urogynecologic Society 2016). Women with these problems are angry, frustrated and scared. Many have lost confidence in their bodies, and they are likely taking your classes!
If a woman returns to impact‐oriented exercise too soon, she may put her pelvic‐bowl organs and pelvic‐floor muscles at risk for dysfunction. As an instructor, you don't work one‐on‐one with attendees, and it is not within your scope of practice to diagnose or offer medical advice. What you can do, however, is offer an "impact preparation program" by presenting simple core exercises in specially themed classes.
The following exercises, based on the Gray Institute®'s Female Chain Reaction® Live Function training program, use gravity to improve pelvic‐floor activation submaximally, subconsciously and without the load of the pelvic‐bowl organs. As soon as the body returns to upright, the pelvic‐floor muscles need to support the pelvic‐bowl organs. The pubic symphysis joint contributes bony support beneath the bladder, since the female pelvis naturally has a slight anterior tilt.
Bridge With Overhead Reach
Forearm Downward‐Facing Dog