There’s a number of physical complications that pregnancy can cause. One of these is pelvic organ prolapse. This can cause swelling, bulging, lower-back, abdomen or pelvic pain, as well as both urinary and fecal incontinence later in life. If you’ve given birth, find out about the 5 signs you might have prolapse after birth.

What is pelvic organ prolapse?

Pelvic organ prolapse is surprisingly common post-birth affecting about 30-50% of women. Often the pelvic organ prolapse doesn’t become clear until after menopause.

During pregnancy, the extra hormones make the connective tissue in womens’ bodies relax to allow for childbirth. In some women, this connective tissue overstretches during birth, and doesn’t return back to its original tightness. This means the pelvic organs being held up by this connective tissue are sitting lower than they should be.

If a woman has a forceps or vacuum delivery, her risk of prolapse goes up even more.

post birth pelvic organ prolapse

5 definite signs you might have prolapse after giving birth

1. Pain

Women with prolapse may experience lower back pain or lower abdominal pain. This is because the uterus attaches to the lower back via ligaments and if the uterus is sitting lower there is more tugging on the lower back joints from inside.

2. Pressure

Women with prolapse may experience sensations of pressure in the pelvis, or feelings of heaviness or dragging sensations. This is because one or more of the organs are sagging lower and placing pressure in the pelvis.

3. Leakage

Women with prolapse may experience leaking from the bladder. This is because the bladder and urethra are sitting lower than they should be. If the rectum is sitting lower than it should be, then they may experience leaking from their bowels.

4. Incomplete emptying

Women with prolapse may experience incomplete emptying of the bladder. This is because the bladder sits lower than it should, and a little pocket of the bladder can form and store urine. If the rectum sits lower than it should, a little pocket of the rectum can form and store bowel matter, and a woman may experience incomplete emptying of the bowels.

5. Bulge

Women with prolapse may experience a sensation of a bulge vaginally, or they may see this when looking with a mirror.

What can be done to treat pelvic organ prolapse?

Women with prolapse would benefit from having a support device called a pessary inserted vaginally, and more importantly they need to engage in posture and strengthening exercises.


The four core muscles need to work effectively, especially the breathing diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles need to be strong to provide support from underneath to support the prolapse.

Nutrition to support collagen rebuilding and hormone balancing is also important.

For more information about prolapse and all the right exercises to get your prolapse under control, you can sign up to Mother Nurture a 12-week postpartum recovery program.

This online physiotherapy program can be taken from the comfort of your own home with expert guidance and support. The program contains videos and handouts on perfecting your posture, engaging all four core muscles, and progressing your core into functional exercise, as well as healthy recipes to support your prolapse, and expert women’s health physiotherapy education.

For more information on building and maintaining a strong core during pregnancy, see Pelvic floor exercise for pregnant Mums and Exercise during pregnancy.

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Heba Shaheed is a women’s health coach and physiotherapist. She is the founder of The Pelvic Expert, a premium provider of online women’s health programs. Recently becoming a new mum, she is passionate about helping women recover from pelvic issues like prolapse, incontinence, diastasis rectus abdominis, anal sphincter injuries, endometriosis, pelvic pain and sexual pain.

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