When the pelvic floor muscles become weakened or damaged, a condition known as "pelvic floor dysfunction" can occur. This dysfunction can lead to issues with the proper contraction and relaxation of the muscles, disrupting the normal functions mentioned above.
Several factors can contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction, including hormonal changes, age-related changes, and difficulties during vaginal delivery, especially when interventions are involved, increasing the risk of muscle damage.
In summary, the pelvic floor is a vital group of muscles responsible for supporting organs, controlling openings, stabilising the core, and contributing to sexual function. Maintaining the health and strength of these muscles is crucial for overall well-being.
The proper functioning of the pelvic floor is of utmost importance during childbirth.
The pelvic floor muscles play a vital role in the birthing process, especially during the crowning stage. It is essential for these muscles to be able to both relax and contract effectively to facilitate the baby's passage through the birth canal. If the ability to relax the pelvic floor muscles during labor is compromised, it can lead to increased fatigue for the mother, potentially requiring more interventions to aid the birthing process.
For pregnant women, recent research conducted in New Zealand explored the effects of a single spinal adjustment on pelvic floor function. The results showed that after one spinal adjustment, pregnant women exhibited a greater ability to relax their pelvic floor muscles at rest. This suggests that chiropractic care may be beneficial for pregnant women, potentially aiding in achieving a natural vaginal delivery.
Similarly, the research demonstrated that non-pregnant women, after one spinal adjustment, were able to contract their pelvic floor muscles to a level comparable to elite athletes. Regular chiropractic care for non-pregnant women could lead to enhanced sensory-motor control, which may reduce the risk of post-partum urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse in the future.
Regardless of whether a woman is pregnant, planning for pregnancy, or has already given birth, it is crucial to pay special attention to the pelvic floor muscles. Chiropractic care is commonly utilised during pregnancy, particularly for lower back pain. However, considering chiropractic care for pelvic health in preparation for childbirth and postpartum recovery is equally important. For comprehensive care, in addition to chiropractic treatment, specialised pelvic floor physiotherapists can assess pelvic health, including internal pelvic floor evaluation when necessary.