During vaginal delivery, the pelvic floor muscles need to stretch. This may not occur sufficiently enough for several reasons. One common issue is if the muscles are tight, the delivery might result in a perineal tear followed by an episiotomy (and resultant scar). Another common reason is if the labor progresses quickly and the pelvic floor muscles do not have enough time to stretch and elongate to accommodate for the head of the fetus. If the perineal scar adheres to underlying tissue, it can interfere with bladder, bowel and sexual function.
During the prenatal period, this can be prevented by massage of the perineal area. During the postpartum period, scar massage can commence with physician approval. The massage keeps the tissue supple and mobile and prevents the scar from adhering to surrounding tissues.
Incontinence, Pain & Constipation
Women often experience urinary incontinence, constipation, fecal incontinence, and/or dyspareunia (pain with intercourse) during and after pregnancy. This is usually the result of pelvic floor muscle weakness and shortening, and/or tears and subsequent scars in the pelvic floor.
Physical therapy treatment involves stretching the pelvic floor muscles to optimize muscle length followed by strengthening exercises.
Other Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Other Pelvic Floor Dysfunction may occur and more information can be found here for pelvic pain, bladder dysfunction, bowel dysfunction or sexual dysfunction. Information for other pelvic floor dysfunction like prolapses vaginal pain can be found here.