BMI the key to prolapse?

Shifting the baby weight and maintaining a healthy body mass index could be the key to avoiding pelvic organ prolapse after giving birth.

Women have struggled to get the weight off after giving birth for so long it has become a running joke, but now we know that shedding the excess pounds and getting down to your ideal BMI as soon as possible could significantly reduce your chances of suffering a prolapsed uterus.

Childbirth is the cause of 50% of prolapsed uteruses, as the muscles responsible for supporting the uterus and other organs and closing the vagina can be damaged during childbirth; inevitably, they are weakened. Strengthening those muscles in the weeks and months after giving birth is simply best practice then. As well as this, though, carrying extra weight on your frame can put additional strain on these muscles, so anything practical you can do to achieve the ideal BMI will help you avoid this condition.

Exercise has to be approached carefully in the weeks and months after giving birth, due to the weakness of the pelvic floor. In fact, aggressive exercise can increase the chances of a uterine prolapse, as well as other complications, as the pelvic floor simply cannot take a great deal of bouncing or other vigorous exercise routines. Starting gently with a regime of Kegel exercises and other low impact exercise is recommended, and healthy eating can obviously affect your BMI, too.

It’s important to eat properly, so your body can recover – eating properly means a combination of proper food groups, vitamins and minerals, rather than saturated fats. If your BMI is too high, you can still lose weight while giving your body all the nutrition it needs. So think carefully about your diet before and after childbirth as it will affect your chances of suffering what can be a crippling condition.

So while prolapse surgery success rates are much higher in the modern era and sacrohysteropexy has proved a major step forward, women may well be able to avoid the problem altogether if they watch their diet, exercise properly and shift that baby weight.

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