Breastfeeding and prolapse


I am almost four months postpartum (after my fourth child) and have a cystocele. I have been having treatment on a neotonus chair since I was five weeks postpartum to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles and there has been some improvement in my condition. However, I've been told that I am unlikely to completely recover until I stop breastfeeding. I'm nervous about stopping breastfeeding in case it actually makes no difference and then I have lost that precious experience with my baby, especially since I don't plan to have any more children. However, I'm finding it hard living with this condition and feeling that I'm missing out on being able to do the things I used to be able to do with my older children, like playing soccer.

I guess what I want to know is whether anyone has noticed much of an improvement in their condition once they have stopped breastfeeding?

Also, has anyone tried any alternative treatments such as acupuncture or herbal treatments?

Congratulations on your baby! I don't have any answers to your questions as I too am new here, but I just wanted to let you know that I am in your same situation. I too am breastfeeding and wonder if it will get better after discontinuing. It is difficult knowing I must be careful in all I do anymore. This will certainly be a lifechanging situation. I am looking forward to hearing the wisdom of the other members here on your questions.

Hugs to you!

Hi Bizzyliz,
I too am breast feeding and am wondering the same thing! A gyn told me things would improve too after stopping brestfeeding but I have heard anecdotally this depends on each individual. I have read elsewhere that a few women have seen improvement but it seems from what I have read that most have not. For me personally this is not enough reason to stop now as I love this time with my baby and feel the benefits far outweigh the possible improvements I might see. However, this is a very personal thing, and for you with other children it may be that you decide it is the right thing to do for you and your children. Once again, it seems that this is another element of the prolapse picture which has no certain outcome or guarantee!
Congratulations on your baby and what is a "neotonus chair"? Of course many women here are finding relief using the techniques described on this site.
Take care.

Hi Bizzyliz and everyone,
I don't understand that - is there some hormonal reason? I breastfed my son (who's now 4) for ages - he didn't stop completely till he was 2 and a half! I didn't feel as if breastfeeding was slowing my postnatal recover at all - in fact it's supposed to be the best thing for toning the uterus, at least in the initial stages, and over time it also helped me lose the extra weight I'd been carrying.
Bear in mind that once you start introducing solids the demand for milk will gradually diminish anyway. I found that my periods re-started when my son was 13 months, which would suggest that my hormones had normalised by then.
Personally I wouldn't have traded that experience of breastfeeding for anything!

Hi Wendy,
The reason that Gyn gave me was that during breastfeeding estrogen levels are supposed to be really low, as low as in post menopausal women when prolapse is supposedly meant to worsen due to thinning of the vaginal membranes. The theory is that after breast feeding stops the estrogen levels return to normal and so do the tissues. I wonder whether any real research has been done in relation to this and post partum prolapsed Mums, I haven't been able to find any. I believe many women are told this because Dr's don't know what else to say. Just my view for what it is worth.

Hi, I am new here too.
I am a 34 year old woman and I was diagnosed with prolapse two years ago. I was diagnosed with prolapse 4 weeks after PP and I was breastfeeding. My doctor told me that I might notice some improvement after I stop breastfeeding. But I have to tell you, I didn't feel any improvement after I completely stoped breestfeeding. I noticed only that wearing the pessary was less painful than it was during breastfeeding.

I am also currently bf (my nursling is 2.5 yo). I hope that when he weans I will see some improvements, but I'm not holding my breath. In the meantime I am enjoying our bf relationship while it lasts.
I wonder if there is any truth to that, if a prolapse can be reversed after weaning. I guess maybe if it was very mild, but once things have 'popped' out of place I don't see how a thicker vaginal wall will push them back. If anyone knows, please enlighten.

Hi Bizzyliz,

It’s important to understand the reasoning behind the prolapse/breastfeeding issue. While breastfeeding there is a natural suppression of estrogen production, hence an interruption in your menstrual cycle. This is necessary for your baby’s normal hormonal development.

Exogenous estrogens, or forms of the hormone made outside the body, are known to help many conditions of the vagina and vulva because they artificially plump up older, estrogen-depleted tissue. Therefore, some people make the supposition that the same effect will happen post-breastfeeding when circulating estrogen returns to pre-lactation levels.

The reality is that many women say their prolapse was not affected one bit by discontinuing breastfeeding. Of course, truth seeking is not a high priority in this area, so there are no studies identifying real numbers.

Postpartum prolapse results from two primary situations:

(1) stretching/tearing/cutting of pelvic tissues

(2) alteration in the highly evolved female pelvic organ support system. The natural shape of the female spine is what positions our organs over the course of seventeen or eighteen years. That shape is changed during the last months of pregnancy when the lumbar spine pulls back in order to balance the huge weight out front. Young women are no longer restoring natural spinal shape after delivery because they virtually live in furniture that promotes skeletal deformation.

Both of these can be affected to some degree by reinstating the original shape of your spine and pelvis throughout your working day, a healthy diet, not straining on the toilet, and other lifestyle changes. Postpartum prolapsed women have been made wary of the very things that sustain continuity of well being in any human society – lifting and breastfeeding their infants.

:-) Christine

It's reassuring to know that there are others out there going through this. I'm certainly getting the impression that stopping breastfeeding won't necessarily change anything. I'm not sure whether to feel pleased or depressed about that!

I've decided to keep breastfeeding for the next couple of months at least and hopefully, over that time, my condition will continue to improve. In the meantime, at least I can go cycling with my other children. I actually find that cycling helps.

(Michelle - A neotonus chair stimulates the pelvic floor muscles electrically.)

I've had a cystocele since the natural birth of my first child 3 yrs ago. I developed bladder prolapse and had pain for about 1 1/2 years due to the amount of damage i received during the birth. My second child, born via C-section is now 10 months. Shortly after delivery I noticed my prolapse was back to same old position. I nursed for 8 months during which i noticed my prolapse was lower than before-coming out of the vagina by a slight bit. I assumed right away that this was because I was breastfeeing but decided to nurse as long as i could. After I stopped nursing I hardly even notice my prolapse unless i'm on my feet carrying babies all day or on my period. I am mindful of my posture and live by the rules that women with prolapse should follow (i've learned it all from this website) -i hope to keep my prolapse where it is for a long while.

Take Care,

Hi Marcella!

It's great to hear from you and I'm so glad you're doing so well! Thanks for your input on bf as well. Perhaps some of it is hormonal and maybe some is lengthy sitting positions. The good news is that women with prolapse can nurse and perhaps look forward to some improvemnt afterwards. At least women aren't saying that things worsen after! :-)


While we have a captive audience on the subject of breastfeeding I'd like to reniforce Christine's comment that women are not posting that their prolapses are worsening after stopping breastfeeding. I am seeing some who are saying that prolapses go back more or less to where they were before the birth, as long as we follow the Wholewoman rules. It looks at worst like a neutral exercise.

When we see that recovery from childbirth takes several months, whether or not the mother is breastfeeding may be totally irrelevant. I put it to you that it is more than coincidence that women feel that their prolapses are worse while breastfeeding. The main reason is that they have just given birth a matter of weeks or a few months ago, so of course pelvic organs are going to be a bit saggy for a while.

However, when you look at breastfeeding vs artificial feeding from the baby's point of view it is like comparing apples with bananas.I worked as a voluntary breastfeeding counsellor for ten years and still wonder at the miracle of breastmilk.

Human breastmilk is the single exclusive perfect food for human babies for at least the first six months. Many babies thrive on breastmilk only for many months after that. No ifs, no buts. It is simply perfect. No artificial food can come anywhere near it in terms of the composition of its sugars fats and proteins, and the way they vary according to how hungry the baby is.

The colostrum that is produced by the breasts before they produce breastmilk is very rich in antibodies and immunoglobulins that protect the baby from allergies and various diseases that are potentially life-threatening to artificially fed infants. The remainder of colsotrum is a superfood for the newborn.

As the breastmilk takes its place it too contains antibodies and immunoglobulins to protect the child's health until it is weaned.

Breastmilk does not expose babies to milk protein from other species before their gut is able to deal with them.

Feeding at the breast is a wonderful comfort during periods of distress and sickness of the baby, and is always available at the right temperature in beautiful containers, whenever needed. A sick mother needs only to put her baby to the breast when baby needs it. There is no need for her to go through all the preparation and sterilisation needed for artificial feeds, in order to keep her baby fed.

For the mother the benefits of breastfeeding include the knowledge that she is feeding her baby *the best food for babies* known to science; the excuse to sit down and rest and gaze at her baby for an extended period of time several times a day; production of oxytocin which helps her uterus to contract down to its normal non-pregnant size quickly after delivery; increased production of prolactin, the mothering hormone; knowledge that her body will adjust the amount of milk needed by the baby as long as she feeds as often as the baby wants the breast. I cound go on for hours about this...

Let's not pretend that there are never problems with breastfeeding. Most are solvable.

There are a few medical reasons why Mums shouldn't breastfeed, and there are some Mums who find it difficult to establish, and a few who refuse to breastfeed their babies. And there are a few babies who have intractible difficulties attaching and milking the breast, but on the whole, babies are supposed to feed at the breast. That's what breasts are for. Well, that's one of the things breasts are for (LOL)

I believe that every day you give your milk to your baby is a gift of life that nobody else can give them. To me it is close to being sacred.

I hope this will encourage you to keep breastfeeding your babies until they are ready to stop. I had my doubts about my younger son who weaned at nearly three, but sure enough, he is now 19 and has a healthy interest in the boobs of much younger women than me. ;-)



I really did not notice any change in prolapse in relation to breastfeeding. I nursed #1 18 mo (preprolapse? maybe rectocele), #2 15 mo (when all three recto cysto and up appeared) and #3 13 mo. I typically felt a change at nine months pp. I also would not have clogged ducts or soreness after nursing for 9 months. So you can see for me it was a time period and had nothing to do with breastfeeding. I have read that the pregnancy hormone relaxin can stay in the system for up to 12 months after birth.

I don't know if it is my age now (35), but time does not have the kind of urgency to me that it once did. I remember after having #2, I couldn't wait for the 6 week postpartum period to end (and I didn't wait) to begin training my body again so I could regain my figure. How discouraged I was that prolapse threatened to stop me. How depressed and devastated I was that I was not immortal.

Now time goes so fast, a year is short time. I can't believe #3 is 18 mo already--where did the time go? So if I could encourage you toward patience. A year after birth really is not long to wait to fully recover from something that stretched your uterus (is it 100X its normal size?) and taxed your body and created a whole new human being simply from the nutrients you consumed. What a miracle. For me, too though, having three children (my third is unbelievably active and demanding) was also a burden. It changed my entire life too. Is it possible that part of the issue with "living with this condition" is the stress (albeit joyous stress) of adjusting to four children as well? Each child "steals" more time that could be spent recovering. After #1 I had a ton of time to lie in bed and nurse my baby, I didn't have another child to care for. After #2, I felt extreme guilt that my firstborn was seemily shoved aside and then couple that with the fact that everytime I stood up it felt like part of me stayed on the chair and I thought I was cripled, wow! What a bad situation. I got smart with #3 and had help. I kept my babysitter and had her help with the older children while I laid in bed nursing my baby.

I think I've gone into more that what was asked. But I do think new mothers dealing with prolapse are dealing with even more than this change to their perenium, it is also hormone changes, lifestyle changes with the addition of another child, etc. It's hard being a mom. Though the best experience in the world.

As far as breastfeeding, if it is going well and you want to continue doing it (I wish #3 would have nursed longer--little rascal!), I recommend doing it as long as you and baby desire. If it is possible, lie down to nurse your baby so posture is not an issue. If possible get help so you can do that: let the older children watch a favorite 30 minute video, have a card game they can play with you while you all lie on the floor together on pillows, etc. At least for me breastfeeding did not affect my perenium, it was time. Again at 9 months pp, I felt lifted and my new normal. Sitting on the floor is also the best thing you can do for your posture to help pull up the prolapse. Maybe you can't play soccer for a little while longer, but you can sit on the floor and play games with them, read to them (or have them read to you), etc. and do many other things to build wonderful memories. Then after YOUR healing time is complete and you feel your new normal and wholeness, then you can play wholeheartedly on the soccerfield with them.


I started my period between 7 & 9 months PP with all 3 of my babies, perhaps that why I noticed a change in my condition and feeling of wellness around that time. I still find (thought he's been weaned for several months now) that I can express perhaps it's when the cycle starts, not when the milk ends that the change comes...

I have been breastfeeding for over a year now and it didn't affect my prolapse at all. In fact I believe it delayed it. I exclusively breastfed for the first 7 months and my prolapse occurred 7 months post-partum, with the return of my menstrual cycle.

Hello, I have had a urethral prolapse since the traumatic birth of my almost two year old. After a few months postpartum, I developed a bladder prolapse. I was told by my OB that my symptoms would improve when I stop feeding because my estrogen levels would rise. I fed my daughter until she was 22 months old and I weaned her (even though she was not ready) because I wanted to feel improvements. Well, 4 weeks after weaning I developed a uterus prolapse and my bladder prolapse progressed to a grade 3. So, things have gone way downhill for me since stopping feeding.
Does anybody have any experience with this? I am wondering if my hormones are regulating and HOPING that once my hormones balance out that I will feel an improvement.

It is a complicated topic, as you can see from reading through this thread. If and to what extent the normal post partum hormonal fluctuations are affecting prolapse symptoms, that part isn't within our direct control. So we don't just wait and hope, we don't need to wean before we're ready, and we certainly don't need the OB's take on this problem (sorry but they are useless in this area). I can't tell from your post, if you are actively engaged in the WW work; but if you aren't, and your symptoms are worsening, time to step it up. Hopefully you will hear from some other PP moms with experience to share.....meanwhile there is plenty to read and absorb here. - Surviving

Thanks Surviving, I am
Brand new to this site and still trying to find resources and navigate my way around. I did find a ww posture video that I purchased and have been practising posture. As far as work that I need to “step it up” with, perhaps you could direct me where to find these exercises? Or the best videos or resources to begin woth?! Thanks kindly! :)

Hi Dsmortz7 - I'm currently still breastfeeding... not sure what will happen with my POP once I wean but really, the posture is what's going to help you the most. Pretty much no matter what the cause of your POP, and however your hormones are affecting things for you personally, the posture is what's going to help you deal with this....
I can personally tell you I've been bad about the workouts... 2 little ones, 1 still nursing often, full time job with long commute and not a ton (or any if i'm honest) outside help apart from when I'm at work -the actual workouts are few and far between... however I try to get out with the kids for walks in posture, I walk around at work as often as I can(in posture), I sit on my office chair in posture (not perfect at this as I tend to forget after some time has passed)... I sit on the floor with the kids, I get on all 4s often and try to do some belly rolls, i try to keep my diet good and I practice ww toileting posture... all of these things have helped me to where I feel things are under control. I hope things stay this way or continue to get better - especially once I wean.
But what i'm trying to say is you need to work on the posture and figure out a way to incorporate it into your every move as much as possible... make it your lifestyle... and hopefully you'll see some improvements.
What I've learned on here is that the work happens when we're up and about throughout our day... the workouts are an additional tool but the basis is making the posture your new normal.

Hi Typicalme,
Thank you very much for your advices....
Could you please, tell me what is "belly rolls"? And what is your sitting posture in office chair? Thank you very much...I am so unhappy due to my prolapse :-(( and try to find out everything ...
I am also still looking for more happyend´s stories about postpartum prolapse...Belly

The belly rolls - and belly toss (i think they're the same) - are on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd wheel yoga videos I believe. I don't really do those at the moment but I really want to start! I need to start building strength now that i feel like the posture is getting pretty ingrained.
Sitting at the office - I sit 2 ways - I either sit on the edge of my seat, lumbar curve in place, shoulders down, chin tucked. my screen is lower so i look down with my eyes while keeping my chin tucked. when i'm in this position i tend to hook my feet on the bottom of the chair (it's got a base with wheels).
the other way i sit - i scoot my butt all the way to the back of the chair, feet flat on the floor, lumbar curve in place. I don't touch the back of the seat with my back at all.
in the car - my driver's seat has a lumbar curve inflation - i keep this inflated to full. i move my butt all the way to the back of the seat and try to keep my back off of the seat back as much as possible but it's not really possible when starting, stopping, turning etc. plus I tend to pump on my commute home lol. But I try to at least sit forward on my sit bones and pubic bone as much as possible.

you'll see plenty of success stories here! I also think people who post a few questions and don't come back - I feel like they must've gotten better as well...
I know you're feeling discouraged but it's so early for you... keep at it... i mean, what's the alternative right? i myself am having a few days here where I'm feeling a little worse... i'm trying to pinpoint what I've been doing and I think i've been so busy this weekend the posture has slipped. belly breathing is what i keep forgetting to do. I also need to start charting what days are worse because even tho I don't have a period yet - i feel like i'm having 'cycles' - i think i've been feeling ovulation pain for the past 3 months so i think my period's about to make a return here soon.

Just a quick correction here: belly rolls are not the same as belly toss; you do rolls in a circular motion breathing deeply into the belly as you move it forward and around. You will find hands and forearms version in 1st wheel yoga and hands and knees version in 2nd wheel yoga.
The bell toss was actually in Whole Woman Solutions video and isn't being featured at the moment, but it is pumping the belly in and out with quick breaths. You can also do belly pumps which are featured in the 3rd wheel yoga, and it is done with the suction portion of firebreathing.
These are all great techniques and help tremendously with this work.

Yoga 3 has a lot of movements where Christine is on the ground on hands and knees, forearms and knees, and then in downward dog. In at least two of those positions she lifts one leg at a time over and over behind her, going up with her leg on the in breath and down on the outbreath. She mentions taking sharp breaths in through the nose with the pumping up of the leg. I think this is similar to the belly toss. Or at least it’s as similar of a movement that exists in the programs currently being sold. For that matter the leg lifts in the workout on first aid for prolapse can incorporate this sharp belly toss breath I could think. It seems to me
That belly toss is just takin sharp breaths in the nose and then out the nose, causing the belly to toss it’s contents forwards quickly and over and over. For me, doing that in hands and knees and while leg lifting seems to accentuate the action.

Edited to add:
That’s a good point aging gracefully, the belly pumping she does on yoga 3 at the end with the use of the fire breathing stomach vacuum is also accomplishing the same thing as the belly toss, but with the use of the stomach vacuum. That’s actually what I call nauli, as that is one of the two forms of nauli she taught in the dictationary of movements on the older version of first aid for prolapse.

I've only ever done the 1st and 2nd wheels - so those are the belly rolls I've seen/done. The belly toss sounds like what I thought firebreathing was at first - something called breath of fire.
I'm motivated now to check out 3rd wheel. thanks for all the descriptions!

Good point Typicalme,
That's why I am always saying that watching and listening to Christine explain it is the best way to learn this stuff, not to sound like a broken record, but that's the only way I learned how to do.
We can try to explain it and describe it all day here on the forum, but it really isn't the same thing.
Watch those videos ladies! Lots of great things to be found in them!