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Whitney Port suffered from postpartum stress urinary incontinence
image by mbg Creative x Vivien Killilea / Getty
Abby Moore of the website mindbodygreen reached out to me about postpartum stress urinary incontinence and I was glad to offer my advice. Here is a brief synopsis of the article along with a link to the full article below.

Heather Jeffcoat, DPT

Postpartum Stress Urinary Incontinence Affects Many

Motherhood ushers in a lot of changes, both emotionally and physically, for those who take on the role. While it can lead to a new sense of purpose and feelings of unconditional love, it can simultaneously lead to worry, physical exhaustion, and, in the case of multi-hyphenate talent Whitney Port: bladder leakage.

When I started working out after having [my son] Sonny, I experienced bladder leakage trying to do jumping jacks or any kind of cardio," Port tells mbg.

While postpartum stress urinary incontinence may not be one of the joys of having children, it is an incredibly common side effect—both from vaginal and cesarean deliveries.

How does pregnancy affect the pelvic floor?

Although pelvic floor muscles stretch over 300% during vaginal delivery, being pregnant increases your risk of pelvic floor dysfunction regardless of how you deliver," physical therapist Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, explains.

The pregnancy itself causes postural and hormonal changes that increase the risk of bladder leaks."

Exercise, laughter, coughing, sneezing, bending, lifting, etc., can trigger these leaks—making them essentially unavoidable postpartum. As many as four in 10 women experience urinary incontinence after giving birth, and many of them (including Port) don't expect to.

I didn't really think much about my pelvic floor before becoming a mom," she tells mbg.

I think the terminology starts sparking when you get pregnant and you're about to have the baby."

After learning of its importance, Port began taking prenatal Pilates classes, focused on the core and the pelvic floor. And of course, following the birth, those exercises became even more top-of-mind.

To learn more about postpartum stress urinary incontinence continue to the full article here.

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Heather has affected my life in the MOST POSITIVE way and I am forever grateful. My husband refers to her as the "sex doctor" so you can only imagine how happy he is with my therapy outcome.

After the birth of my son I suffered from "Vaginismus", however, at the time I just thought I was broken. My "broken vagina" affected me physically but it was an emotional struggle as well. Many women in my life also suffered with pain from sex after their babies were born so I knew I wasn't alone. They told me they "just got used to it" but I couldn't see myself living that way.

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I went to Heather after the birth of my third child. It was lucky, really, that I was referred to her, because my doctor had referred me to a surgeon for a possible hysterectomy or pelvic wall rebuild. Thankfully, I went to Heather before undergoing either surgery, she was able to fix the problem. She has studied extensively in women's health--even written a book about it--and was able to diagnose my problem, suggest a course of treatment (6 weeks), and then follow through with said treatment. By the end, as she said, I was as good as gold. Boy, was it worth it! Though uncomfortable to talk about, much less write about, it is worth getting the word out there. If you have painful intercourse, especially after birth or other trauma, the treatment may be as simple as Physical Therapy (with Heather, of course). I highly recommend her.

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My husband and I were married for 5 years before we were able to have intercourse due to my vaginismus. There was nothing traumatic in my past but for some reason, even though I wanted sex, I mentally avoided "that area" of my body and didn't even admit to myself that there was a problem for a long time, even though I was never able to put tampons in. Once I finally opened my eyes up to the fact that I had a problem, I had a surgery that was supposed to fix the issue.

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Heather's unique physical therapy program literally changed my life! After years of struggling with vaginismus, a condition that made it impossible for me to have intercourse and very difficult to use tampons without pain, a gynecologist referred me to Heather. I was nervous for my first appointment, but Heather's professional and friendly demeanor put me at ease. She did a great job explaining each technique she was using to help my muscles relax. Heather uses a combination of internal and external stretches and exercises to relax the pelvic floor and build muscle strength. Her specially developed home program helped me quickly recover from an issue that seemed insurmountable before meeting Heather. She was optimistic about my progress and incredibly encouraging. Less than 6 months after my first session, I was able to have pain-free sex for the first time in my life! If you are suffering from vaginismus or any other pelvic floor issues, I highly recommend making an appointment with Heather and reading her book!

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