Recovery from a Prolapse after Giving Birth

In seven years of writing on the Internet, sharing about my experience with prolapse after giving birth led to more inquiries than any other post. I shouldn’t be surprised — when I was looking for information on prolapse after giving birth, I found very little.

Read Part 1: My Experience with Postpartum Prolapse.

Having a prolapse after giving birth is scary, frustrating and isolating. Learn the steps to begin your recovery.

I get it. Saying, “Oh hey strangers on the Internet, my bladder (or uterus or rectum) is falling out of me,” is not something we all feel comfortable doing. I don’t feel comfortable discussing this, but this seems to be the one of the last frontiers of hush-hush women’s health topics and in the interest of helping a mother out, sharing my story is worth it.

The impact of prolapse after giving birth can range from so mild that you are asymptomatic and don’t even know you have a prolapse to so severe that your every day activities are significantly inhibited and surgery may be necessary.

I was neither of these extremes.

We left off with my first appointment with a urogynecologist with Northwestern’s Integrated Pelvic Health program. I was diagnosed with a mild to moderate bladder prolapse and given a prescription for pelvic floor physical therapy. I also opted to wear a pessary. I was 18 weeks postpartum at the time, and I’m now two years postpartum.

My Recovery from Prolapse after Giving Birth

When I was first treated for the prolapse, I was told it would take nine months to a year for my pelvic floor muscles to recover from pregnancy and childbirth. This was absolutely true, and while it took some time, the good news is it got better.

In addition to my muscles simply recovering, which helps hold everything in its correct place, I also took advantage of physical therapy to further  strengthen my pelvic floor. The physical therapist was able to pinpoint the muscles that were weakest — in my case, my “kegel” muscles were relatively strong, but my core muscles were struggles — and provided me with exercises to do at home. She also gave me advice about what exercises to avoid while we were building strength (for me, crunches and full sit-ups). I saw the PT about 10 times, and it was definitely worth it.

I also decided to wear a pessary, a piece of silicone used like a diaphragm. The pessary helps to hold the bladder in place, and for the most part, I wear it all the time. While choosing to wear a pessary is not an ideal life situation, the benefits for me outweigh the negatives, and it’s really a minor inconvenience.

With the pessary, I was able to return to my normal activity levels. I specifically asked my doctor about high impact activities, like running, circuit training, bootcamp-style workouts, jumping — activities that much of the information I found online about prolapses warned against. I was told that as long as I am comfortable, there’s no reason I shouldn’t continue participating. I do try to be mindful of engaging my pelvic floor muscles particularly with strength training moves that can inadvertently cause us to “strain,” like dead lifts.

Day to day, going to the bathroom often takes slightly longer as I often have to give my bladder a little extra time to fully empty. Less regularly, that time of the month is a big pain in the va-jay-jay because tampons are no longer a comfortable option. I alternate between pads and the Diva Cup (turned inside out — a tip I picked up from a thread on some random forum about menstrual cups and prolapse after giving birth). I can continue to wear the pessary if I want, but I typically remove it. Exercising during this time is the biggest problem for me, and I have yet to find an acceptable solution.

But that’s really it. Other than wearing the pessary, my bladder prolapse no longer interferes with my daily life — I honestly hardly even think about it. My biggest concern right now is making the decision to have another child. It’s hard to say how much another pregnancy and birth could affect my prolapse. Based on my internet research, it can range from not at all to choosing to have a c-section in an attempt to exacerbate an existing prolapse. So basically, the Internet, like I’ve found throughout my attempt to research prolapse after giving birth, continues to be zero percent helpful. I plan to discuss this with my doctor at some point in the near future. Finally, if we do have a second child, he or she will be our last, and I will at that point begin exploring more permanent solutions—i.e., surgery — to fix the prolapse. I may or may not go down that road (I have heard very mixed reviews), but I will definitely be looking into my options.

What to Do If You’re Dealing with Prolapse after Giving Birth

1. Keep your situation in perspective, but do not just accept a diminished quality of life.

2. If you’re early in your postpartum recovery, try to take it easy and remember that time will help your prolapse.

3. Seek out a specialist (a urogynecologist) if you have access to one in your area and/or get a second opinion if you are not satisfied with your doctor’s answers.

4. While things in that area may never quite be the same again, be upfront with your care providers about what you are looking for in terms of recovery.

5. Take advantage of all resources: Do physical therapy if you can; consider getting a pessary, and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions about your specific situation.

I’m obviously not a medical professional, but I know how isolating and frustrating this can be, and I hope this helps those you who are struggling with prolapse after giving birth.

20 thoughts on “Recovery from a Prolapse after Giving Birth

  1. Thank-you for sharing your story.

    After the discovery of my severe uterine prolapse at the age of 27 just after giving birth to my first child I was horrified. I began a web-site to help other woman; IT was so hard finding information that was un biased and offered hope.

    I really appreciate you took the time to speak out on such a sensitive topic.

    Blessings,

    Kristina

    • Thank you so much for your response. It amazes me how difficult it is to find other accounts from younger women about this. From the responses and email I have received over the last two years, clearly there is a need for more resources and education and less embarrassment and isolation. I’m hoping to continue posting on this topic on my blog from time to time, so perhaps there is an opportunity for us to swap stories or share resources down the road. Best of luck with your continued recovery!

  2. Hey! Though not happy for our pp circumstances, I’m happy to have come across your blog. I’m 7 weeks pp, and know I have a mild rectocele and possibly cystocele. It’s something I’d never heard of before, and as an active woman, it’s hard to find instances on the net of others able to get back to their routines. Would love to possibly chat with you more, as I don’t know of anyone else that has this condition.
    Thanks for sharing your experience, it makes me feel less alone during this scary time in my life.
    Ash

    • Hi Ashley, I’m sorry to hear about this. Prolapse was definitely something I had never heard of, and I felt like it was impossible to find information on the Internet that did not make me feel completely hopeless when it first happened. While I’m sure details of our situations are different, you’re very early on in your pp recovery, and for me, feeling better took time. I’m now 2 years pp, and I can honestly say that my prolapse does not affect my ability to be active. Feel free to reach out to me at mommysanest@gmail.com if you want chat more.

    • Hey Ashley,
      I see you posted this a year ago. Not sure if you are still active on here but I would love to hear how your recovery went? I am in your situation now. 7.5 weeks pp with a cystocele. I’m completely terrified and disappointed about this. ?

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  4. Great read. After struggling with breast feeding and finally giving up expressing five times a day at 6 months I find out I have a prolapse. Well actuallly two, front and ba k grades 1 and 2. Feels so unfair. So nice to hear you’ve found a way to deal with it and keep up and active lifestyle. Gives me some hope.

  5. Hello!

    I am now 6 weeks PP. I’m terrified. I’m only 25 and I had my second baby weighing 9lbs. I need encouragement and i have so many questions! If your still active, can you email me please?

    It’s so refreshing to hear a story that’s ended in success.

  6. Thank you for sharing your story, this also occurred to me 5 weeks after having our first baby. This is the only real story I could find regarding this topic.
    I could not believe that something like this is meant to be so common yet no one tells you about it until after the fact.
    Just so relieved to hear the is light at the end of the tunnel, I’m now 13weeks pp, and symptoms are the same. Just have to hang in there.

  7. Hi everyone! So glad to have read these stories….there really is not much hope out there on the Internet! I too was diagnosed with a rectal and bladder prolapse after a very quick delivery of my second child. I was devastated especially because I considered myself a healthy and active 31 hear old! Well…. Fast forward 7 months ( I am now 7 months post). I agree that it really does get better with time, and I noticed it got much better when my periods resumed (maybe extra estrogen helped). I also have good months and bad months which is confusing to me. I guess I’ll feel great and try something like lifting the stroller, then start getting symptoms again 🙁 I truly hope that goes away eventually.
    One thing that helped me immensely though was a pelvic floor without dvd called Hab It by Tasha Mulligan. After o e workout I literally felt my prolapse lift! And on days I don’t feel that great, doing a workout will always help it go ” back up”. I just wanted to tell you all this really helped me a lot! I still do the exercises and should do them much more regularly so I won’t keep having relapses. Hope this info helps! At 7 months post, I have weeks I don’t even think about it and weeks with symptoms, but I have hope they will eventually go away with continued exercises and prayer!

      • Hi Kristen! My OB said that both were stage one. I now 13 months postpartum and things feel about the same as they did when I posted at 7 months postpartum. I wish I could say that they have gotten completely back to normal, but I’m also getting used to a new normal if that makes sense…. I try not to think about it all the time. I still do the workouts which help a lot. I can tell when I do t do them because I do feel worse. I still get sad sometimes because I used to love to run and now can’t even imagine it ….. but I enjoy walking and that doesn’t seem to bother my prolapse, even long walks.

  8. As r of 3, I was also taken by surprise when things started feeling weird about 2 or 3 weeks pp. I had been active during my last 2 pregnancies which were both VBACs. I was healthy, and VERY active. I had seen the pelvic mesh commercials, but had no idea what a prolapse actually was. Now when I say I am the QUEEN of internet research, I mean that very literally. So how is it that I never, in all of my research on VBAC, natural childbirth, the postpartum period and all things women’s health, never came across anything to prepare me for this? Why aren’t pelvic floor exercises introduced by midwives and Ob-Gyns during pregnancy and in the pp period as a neccessity? Why aren’t these exercises taught in lamaze and birth prep classes? I am only 8 weeks pp, and awaiting physical therapy. I ordered “hab it” after reading many reviews and scouring the web for hope. I love being active and can’t imagine living a sedentary or very low activity life. I live to run long distances, do intense cardio training and really push myself. I pray daily for healing. I practice my kegels. I just keep waiting for that “bubble” feeling to go away, and for my life to return to normal.

    • Hang in there Mary! Your body is still really recovering from your recent delivery…. I know the feeling of just wanting to feel normal, especially when you have the care of a newborn looming! I felt devastated, depressed, and constantly thinking about it. I finally had to just stay off the internet, do my exercises, and give the rest to God. Your body will continue healing and things should feel better in a few more months. Definitely do NOT try and push yourself like I did….. (Lifting the infant seat, lifting my 2 year old, lifting the stroller.)That actually made things so much worse and slowed my recovery. Hope things get better soon! Hang in there!

  9. Thank you for posting. I am 6 weeks pp and just figuring that this discomfort is not normal healing that goes along with a vaginal delivery. I am a runner and am wondering if anyone was able to resume workout activities like running, spinning, yoga without exacerbating their prolapse…??

    Thank you,
    Christy

  10. I’ve had 3 pregnancies and 4 kids (twins). My prolapse started after my first and came back quickly after my twins. With my 4th child it was so bad I had a pessary during pregnancy. Huge relief! Now I’m one week post partum and its back and I’m so upset and annoyed. My husband and I found sex super awkward with it in and pretty much stopped having actual intercourse…something I’m not willing to do without long term. You mentioned taking the pessary out. I couldn’t do it and about came off the table when my OB removed it. So can you address sex and removal in regards to pessary?

    Thankful for this info as I cry and eat ice cream 😉

    • Has anyone had experience with the whole women posture? Seems like there’s a lot of women who become better doing that postpartum!

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