Ok, as we continue our period week I want to talk about another very common problem in the post partum.
Cups no longer staying in.
As always, I find the best advice and isight comes from personal experience, so here we are!
After my first son, I had the opposite problem, My cup would get up too high and it was a challenge to get it out. You can read that blog HERE.
When my period retuned at 9 weeks post partum after my second I had a few thoughts.
1. WHY is there a period here... I'm breastfeeding... hellloooo.. I'm supposed to get a longer period break here!
2. WHY is my cup my falling out!?!
Not impressed with either.
It took me a few cycles to fully get myself sorted out with the cups again, and actually stuck with tampons and pads for a while. But, keep reading for my best tips for getting your cup groove back!
1. If you are post-partum you may need to go up a size. Yes- cups have sizes!
Once I mastered my cup before, I was attached to it. I liked it! We had it on "lock" . I could put it in in the morning and not think about it for 12 hours. Amazing.
Now, as soon as I would get it in and start moving around I could feel like it was already moving out. The tab on the cup was irritating my skin and I felt like I was constantly "adjusting myself ". I was also having LEAKS! not just small little leaks, like wreck my underwear and pants leaks.. not cool.
I knew that at 3-4 months pp my pelvic floor support was not back to baseline yet, and my vaginal walls had just expanded to allow life through, so it I decided I needed to go up a size to better mach my vagina at this stage, and immediately saw an improvement.
Another really fun thing that I noticed was that with bowel movements, even the larger cup was getting pushed down... fun!
As bizarre as that sounds, it makes a lot of sense. Our rectum, and our vaginal wall are right next to each other- if the cup is pressing into the vaginal wall it is totally possible that the pressure from the stool, on a healing vaginal wall could displace the cup.
I decided to move to the regular size saalt soft cup. It was the right width that stayed put, but was for more comfortable on my vaginal walls, and no more issues with BM's pushing the cup out!
It was also another good motivator to make sure those BM's were NOT HARD!
2. Cup Origami!
Whether you are trying a new cup, or trying to make your current cup work better. how you fold it to insert it matters!
You want to be able to get the cup as high as possible before it opens up, and while certain folds make the opening smaller, or are easy to do, when you are only holding the end of the cup, the top is already opening, limiting you ability to get the cup into a great spot.
The Fold I like for this is the punch down method. You can see a video of that and 8 others HERE!
It takes practice to master your folds, and your insertions, but practice makes perfect!
3. Pelvic Floor Strengthening
Ok, so don't shoot me for this one!
You all know I am not a huge kegel fan. Not because I don't believe that our pelvic floor deserves to be strong.
I am not a fan of what the kegel represents! It represents isolated activation, which beyond very early healing does not have a lot of long term benefit. It also represents that we need this "tight" vagina in order to be a better version of a "woman" which I whole heartedly refute- and is an entire blog post itself.
When we have gone through a pregnancy and post partum regardless of mode of birth we have some decreased pelvic support from both the muscles and the fascia of the pelvis. We also have some decreased tension of the vaginal walls.
Learning to properly contract and relax your pelvic floor in BOTH an isolated fashion as well as integrated in with whole body movements is KEY.
We also need to activate pelvic floor muscles for both endurance, longer holds as well as speed, quick contractions and also be able to release after these contractions.
This is really where 1:1 PT comes in. As much as I would love to be able to give a magical few exercises for better cup support. We need to assess and get to the root of why that support is lacking, and find individualized ways to improve that support.
I do offer 1:1 in person and virtual support for this and you can find more about it here
That being said, I will be posting more this week on social media to help improve your experience with cups/discs and tampons including some exercises so stay tuned!
* Hayley Kava PT participates with Amazon Affiliates and so I make a small commission from purchases made from participating links