Updated: Jan 13, 2020
The final topic to be discussed in our Autumn Womb Journey is uterine and pelvic floor strength. A uterus can lose its muscle tone when the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments become weak and are no longer able to support her. Many factors may contribute to the loss of uterine muscle tone, which results in major conditions down the line. For the next two posts we are going to address two conditions, as well as solutions, associated with weakened uterine and pelvic floor muscles.
1. Uterine Atony
- During labor, this may occur once the baby has been delivered and the uterus fails to contract (this leads to postpartum hemorrhaging). After childbirth, the muscles of the uterus normally tighten, or contract, to deliver the placenta. These contractions also help compress the blood vessels that were attached to the placenta, stopping bleeding. If the muscles of the uterus do not contract strongly enough, the blood vessels continue to bleed resulting in excessive blood loss.
The main symptom of uterine atony is when the uterus remains relaxed and without tension after giving birth. This is why your medical provider presses on your abdomen once you have delivered to make sure your uterus is forming to the size of a grapefruit. Other symptoms include excessive and uncontrolled bleeding following the birth of the baby, decreased blood pressure, an increased heart rate, pain, and/or a backache. These symptoms are not common postpartum and should be addressed immediately. Speaking up about your health, or the health of a loved one, after delivery can help combat maternal mortality.
2. Uterine prolapse
- Occurs when the uterus slips down into or protrudes out of the vagina. It often affects postmenopausal women who have had one or more vaginal deliveries, but can occur in women of any age. Uterine prolapse can be mild, moderate or severe.
Signs are not noticed in mild cases, however moderate to severe uterine prolapse symptoms include heaviness in your pelvic region, tissue protruding from your vagina, incontinence, or urine retention.
As scary as these conditions may sound, there are fairly easy ways to prevent them from occurring. Next post we will discuss preventative womb and pelvic floor maintenance.