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Things “They don’t tell you” About Your Pregnant Body

Updated: Apr 22


Pregnancy constantly brings many changes to your body, mind, and wellbeing. For many people, it can seem like as soon as you get used to one new transition, another one emerges. At Embrace Pelvic Health, we aim to empower pregnant people with knowledge about how their bodies may change, what to expect, and what we can do to mitigate those changes. 


3 Ways Pregnancy Can Impact Your Body


Diastasis Recti




Diastasis Recti is an extremely common condition during late pregnancy and postpartum. Diastasis recti occurs naturally when the linea alba, a sheath of connective tissue that connects both sides of your rectus abdominis muscle, stretches and widens. This thinning and widening of the tissue can make it harder for your rectus muscle to activate properly, sometimes leading to poor core mechanics, low back pain, and difficulty with lifting or strenuous activity.  


The majority pregnant people have some degree of diastasis, since there is a significant stretch being placed on that linea alba as the baby grows--this is one way our bodies accommodate a growing baby. We can mitigate some of the effects of diastasis during pregnancy by working on breathing mechanics, deep core activation, and functional core exercises that you can incorporate throughout your day to day life. 


Your diastasis might resolve on its own after birth, or you may need some additional support from a pelvic floor therapist. This is due to a variety of factors including genetics and connective tissue laxity, habitual breathing patterns, functional movements, posture, and constipation. If you have a diastasis postpartum, it does not mean you did anything “wrong!” It is incredibly common and possibly a necessary part of the process. Know that there are many interventions we can use to support you. 


Urinary Incontinence


Urinary incontinence during pregnancy is also very common--66.7%! When we think of the position of the pelvic organs, you can see one of the main reasons why incontinence could happen. As the uterus expands, it’s placing pressure directly on to the bladder. As our bladder fills, it expands. So if the uterus is in the way, the bladder won't be able to stretch. Some people find that they experience more incontinence depending on the growing baby’s positioning as well. Other contributing factors to urinary incontinence include decreased pelvic floor strength, habitual patterns around breathing and pressure management within the abdominal canister, and decreased core activity. Basically, if you hold your breath or strain often, you might find yourself more likely to leak.


Laxity is another factor. The increase in the hormones relaxin and progesterone impair your ability to squeeze your pelvic floor with as much strength as when you aren't pregnant.


Because of the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy, some cases of incontinence are easier to treat than others. Working with a pelvic floor therapist can help mitigate some of the incontinence you might be experiencing. 


Pelvic Organ Prolapse


Pelvic organ prolapse can occur as a result of pregnancy and labor, as well as other contributing factors like genetics and chronic constipation. It’s often associated with sensations of heaviness and discomfort within the pelvic region. Prolapse may also be felt like dragging, back pain, or the feeling that a tampon is there when one is not.


If we visualize the pelvic floor like a hammock helping to hold up the uterus, bladder, and rectum, it’s easy to see how prolapse can occur. With pregnancy often comes weakened pelvic floor tissue, and labor is often associated with increased pressure downward on the pelvic floor. The hammock of tissues thus has a harder time supporting the organs.


Many people wonder, “Are my organs coming out of my body?”. To use another metaphor, if you think of the vaginal canal like a sock, imagine placing your hand inside. Now. pinch one part of the inside with your fingers. That represents a bladder prolapse (cystocele) or rectocele (the rectum pushing in on the back wall of the vagina). This means the bulge itself is often vaginal tissue that’s being pressed on by the organs. A uterine prolapse can descend into the vaginal canal itself, but it’s very rare to have a full descent of the uterus.  





Our bodies change immensely during pregnancy. A qualified pelvic floor therapist can assist you with many of the challenges associated with pregnancy and labor, so that you can return to the activities you cherish the most. 





If you have pelvic health concerns and would like to see how our therapists at

Embrace can help, follow the link to schedule your free discovery call. For an accessible virtual healing option check out Postpartum Essentials.




This article was written by Mirah Sand OTR/L. They are a pelvic floor occupational therapist who is certified Pregnancy and Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist, and

has received advanced pelvic health training through Herman and

Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute.


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