New program helps women restore their bodies after childbirth
By Morgan Lord
Childbirth brings with it plenty of joys—unconditional love, a new, impenetrable bond and all of that cuddle time. But giving birth can also mean a slew of not-so-joyous bodily changes for a new mother including bladder, bowel and sexual health issues.
NorthShore University HealthSystem’s Division of Urogynecology is being proactive to help women before, during and after pregnancy and childbirth. Last year, the division launched the Body After Baby program with the goal of helping new mothers deal with the physical recovery of their pelvic floor, headed by Dr. Roger Goldberg, author of the book Ever Since I Had My Baby.
“With early intervention, and by educating women on these issues during their childbearing years, we can prevent or reduce these problems for many women,” Goldberg says.
During both pregnancy and childbirth a woman’s pelvic floor—which helps to maintain the bladder, bowel and sexual function—is been placed under enormous strain. So it’s not surprising that 25–50 percent of childbearing women report a problem with their bladder or bowel, and many others notice sexual changes, according to officials at NorthShore. The Body After Baby program is research-based and tailored to the individual, designed to help women cure or improve these issues.
“As urogynecologists, every day we see dozens of women who underwent childbirth years before and now face life-changing problems relating to their bladder, bowels, pelvic and sexual health,” Goldberg says. “And nearly all of them feel that if they’d only known earlier about the impact of pregnancy and childbirth on the female body, they might have planned differently or made different choices.”
The Body After Baby program, which is appropriate for women of all ages, addresses: early detection of pelvic floor conditions; learning the best ways to strengthen and rehabilitate your pelvic floor (including the perfect Kegel exercise routine); restoring your core fitness with exercises tailored to you; and alleviating bladder and bowel symptoms with diet and fluid management, lifestyle and behavioral tips, biofeedback and acupuncture.
“With childbirth, it’s usually all about the baby and very little attention is devoted to mom and the enormous physical event she’s experiencing,” Goldberg says. “Our goal with the Body After Baby program is simple, bridge the divide between obstetrics and gynecology, and reach women before they allow years and decades to pass after their childbearing years.”
Through the program, you can also receive expert advice from physicians at NorthShore’s Center for Pelvic Health, work one-on-one with nurse or specialist and participate in online chats, where you can interact and ask questions of the experts. The program will take place at our Center for Pelvic Health in Skokie. For an appointment, call the Center for Pelvic Health main line at 224-251-2374 (CFPH), and should specify that they’d like an appointment through the Body After Baby program.