Interview with Kim Vopni – The Vagina Coach
A great podcast that may hold a key to unlocking your fertility potential. First off, all I can say is that I learned a lot from this interview, so much so that I will be referring all my fertility patients to a pelvic floor physical/physio therapist from here forward! Kim is great, and has a lot of knowledge and passion for helping women have better experiences with sex, orgasm, fertility, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum periods in their life. ~ Spence
BA Psychology 1995
Post Grad Diploma in Health and Fitness 1997
Personal Trainer Pre/post fitness consultant
Fitness for Fertility Specialist
Author – Prepare To Push 2015, Your Pelvic Floor – The Inside Story – 2017,
Pregnancy Fitness 2018
Fitness Industry 1996 – 2001
HR roles 2001 – 2009
Pelvienne Wellness Inc – since 2004 (side biz) and became official in 2009 Bellies Inc – 2011
[/x_tab][x_tab active=”false”]Kim Vopni -The Vagina Coach
Spence: Hello, everyone and welcome to the Conception Channel podcast. It’s brought to you by the Being Fertile Program and Yinstill Reproductive Wellness. I am your host, Spence Pentland, and today, I’m really excited to be here and be able to speak with our special guest Kim Vopni. Welcome!
Kim: Thank you very much.
Spence: She’s going to help us better understand vaginas – is that accurate?
Kim: Yes. I mean, kind of weird, but it would be ‘where the vagina lives’ I guess might be a better.
Spence: Okay. Admittedly, I often will go into a bit of an introduction, particularly in an area of expertise that I might have some, but like we said right before we hit the red button for record, we’re going to be candid today. My profession talks a lot about poop and periods and you talk a lot about vagina health. We’re going to really try to relate what Kim knows to fertility and healthy pregnancy. So thank you so much for being on the show, just a little bit of housekeeping before I get you to introduce yourself. If you haven’t already done, at the bottom, if you’re on beingfertileprogram.com at the bottom, subscribe to our podcast so you can be notified when new ones come out. You can also subscribe to our Youtube channel, Conception Channel Apple, iTunes podcast – leave a review if you like it, that would be great. And of course on our Yinstill Reproductive Wellness Facebook page. So, without further ado, welcome, Kim. Thank you so much. Can you give people a bit of a background and maybe your story, where you came from and how you got to be where you’re at today?
Kim: For sure. I’d be happy to share. So, really my story began with grade six sex
education class, where they showed a video of childbirth. And it wasn’t probably the best thing to be showing a group of young children and giving them an idea of what birth was supposed to be like. So, I had this fear, I thought that’s something that I’m just not interested in doing, and as I grew up, and I still had a sort of a fascination and a curiosity about birth because what I saw I knew happened to many, many women, including my mother. So, I would ask questions with my mom, and she was very open and shared her stories. And at the time when she gave birth, it was very common to have episiotomies, and it was just routine standard practice, so that was her experience. As she aged, she did have some challenges with her bladder, so she was having leakage, she always had a tummy she wasn’t happy with, she had chronic back pain, so all of these things started to point to me that pregnancy and birth weren’t friendly to the body. I really led an active lifestyle and I wanted to continue, so that was going to interfere with my activity level. So, I wasn’t going to be doing that. And that was kind of where it started and really contributed to me now being very actively involved, having given birth myself and being very active in the community to promote pregnancy, births and wellness. So, what happened was, as I got married and I decided I didn’t want to have a family, I watched my sister-in-law give birth, and I’m incredibly grateful for that experience because it really probably was the turning point for me where I said, you know what, I want and I can do this, and I know it doesn’t have to be the same experience as my mom. I remember walking into — my sister-in-law used midwives at a hospital, and we were waiting outside in the hall until the point where she said, okay, yes, you can come in. And so we came in, at what I now know is really the worst time we could have possibly gone in when a woman is birthing, but anyway we did. And it didn’t inhibit her by any means. But I remember walking in and seeing my sister-in-law in a side-lying position and being attended to by her midwives, and in my head I remember saying, oh, my god, that’s a big vagina. It was shocking to me. My niece hadn’t been born yet, but she was starting to crown, and it was absolutely incredible. And watching my niece being born really was a transformative moment for me. The next day I remember asking my sister-in-law if everything was falling out of her because I said I saw how big everything was, and she said, no, there’s a bit of change but it doesn’t feel like what I think it would feel like. And so that sort of inspired me and I said, okay, well you know what did she do, she had
midwives, she was in a side-lying position, she used perineal massage. So, the following year I became pregnant, and I was determined to do everything I possibly could to have again that story that was different from my mom’s. And I used midwives, and I looked at birth positioning, and I was very focused on the pelvic floor because really that was my biggest sticking point. I really wanted to understand how I could ideally have an intact perineum, how I could avoid incontinence, how I could avoid prolapse, and when I was speaking with my midwives, they told me about a product called the EPI-NO, which is a biofeedback device for preparing the pelvic floor for birth. And with my background in fitness, the product really is about strengthening and stretching and connecting with muscle function really. From a fitness background, it made a lot of sense to me, and I purchased one and used it. And again, I was in a side-lying position myself, I used midwives, I did the EPI-NO training, I feel like I was fairly well versed, so I had many things working in my favor. Birth is very dynamic and just because you use one birth position or one product, it’s not going to guarantee that you won’t have any tearing or what-have-you, but I had a very positive experience. Compared to the stories of my friends, I felt like I had done some things or knew some things that I thought more people should know about. So, I became a distributor for that product, the EPI-NO product. My intention was never to start a business, it was just to start telling other women I would make maybe make a few extra dollars. And along the way, I started telling people about that link between fitness and why we should be using fitness to prepare our bodies for pregnancy and birth. It just started to evolve organically, and it has become my career, my business and I love it. And so it was my mom’s experience, using that EPI-NO product for myself, and then wanting to tell other women about the importance of preventive and restorative pelvic health, so that we don’t have to accept and think we need to live with pads just because we’ve had children.
Spence: Right. The comparison between your mum and your sister-in-law, it was stark. That really sparked curiosity in you.
Kim: Absolutely. The media does a really good job at showing us that you have to be on your back, and it’s going to be screaming and people are going to have you hold your
breath, and like, we have an image of how you think you’re supposed to have a baby. And so when I saw my sister-in-law, I thought you always had to be on your back because that’s all I had ever been shown or heard of. So, it really opened my eyes, and yes, completely different. And I’m incredibly grateful that I did have that experience because again, it switched my perspective and then put me on a different path.
Spence: I would postulate that most women today, the first birth that they see is their own. And that’s a big difference from how things maybe were back in more village and tighter community at times before it was more of a medicalised condition or put into hospitals.
Kim: Yes, I think that’s very true. We don’t have the village, and we are very much in a ‘busy super mom I’ve got this’ mentality, so we don’t have guidance as we’re growing up, and then if we have experienced our own birth, that is oftentimes the first time. And then we also don’t have the village to support us on the other side as well. We have to kind of build that tribe ourselves, and oftentimes, women don’t know that they even should or who should be part of that tribe.
Spence: It’s interesting, the rerise of midwifery, at least I can speak to North America because that’s where we’re both from, and that’s in the last couple decades even. Even the switches, I talked to medical colleagues, and the difference in enrollment today to how it was even not that long ago of male to female ratios into obstetrics and gynecology is very few male. So, I think that village is kind of rebuilding itself maybe in a modern sense or something.
Kim: Yes. I absolutely think that that movement or that shift is happening, and I certainly have seen that. So, my first pregnancy, my oldest son is almost 14, so 14, 15 years ago, I only heard of the word ‘doula’ through a friend of mine. It’s a term I had never even heard. I’d heard of midwives before my sister-in-law, but my perception of what a midwife was, was not at all what they truly are. So, yes, I think there is definitely a rise, in the birth professional world, midwifery is becoming much more accepted. I guess
doulas are much more common, more people are familiar with that word. I think that that the shift is absolutely happening thankfully.
Spence: Yes. I think it’s pretty accepted, at least in British Columbia where I’m from, where midwifery care is covered under Medical Services Plan, thank you, Canada, but unless there’s a high risk or a woman would feel more comfortable with their family doctor or an obstetrician, then midwifery is kind of a mainstream choice for women these days, which is great. You want women to honor the pelvic floor, I’m going to try and hone in on your specialty. I know you’re a vagina coach, but pelvic floor, and most of our listeners will be hopefully in this position of being healthy for pregnancy and a successful birth and recovery postpartum, but most of our listeners or viewers are trying to get pregnant or struggling to achieve that goal – what advice or what role does the pelvic floor health play in optimizing reproductive health, maybe period or health overall and fertility?
Kim: Yeah, for sure. I’ll just say one thing before, in terms of the name vagina coach, and for many years, I actually was known as the fitness doula because I was the personal trainer and combined it with birth. And because I was working with women, many of whom had had children 20, 30 years ago, who didn’t know the word doula, and because it was kind of broadening through fertility pregnancy and beyond, we chose a different name. But pelvic floor still is a term that is not as known to people, but pretty much everybody knows vagina, and at least it pones in on the fact that I’m talking about female reproductive health basically. That was kind of the intention behind that.
Kim: Yeah, exactly. So, my passion really is the pelvic floor as a whole. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles, and they’re in layers, it’s interwoven with nerves, and it has a huge blood supply. The pelvic floor is responsible for support to the spine and pelvis, helping us maintain our continence, and be able to really make decisions about peep who are fart, a role in our sexual health… I’m missing one here, spinal support and organ support as well. So, we have our bladder, our uterus, our rectum, and they play a role in helping
keep those organs up as well. It’s a part of the body that we sort of take for granted. It should be working without us really having to think about it. Things in life, so accidents, movement, lack of movement, injuries, surgery, pregnancy, birth – all sorts of things can contribute to the pelvic floor, and it’s ability to be something we don’t have to think about or something that, oh, my gosh, it’s the only thing we think about. Because now when something is not working as it should, it affects so many aspects of our life. And from a fertility perspective, it’s a place of power, but it’s also a place of tension. It can be the pelvic floor muscles, again, from all those reasons, I said oftentimes the way we hold our body or the stress we have in our lives or potentially other influences that may have interfered with the function of our pelvic floor, it can also interfere with the ability to conceive. And if we can optimize our function, so if we can have better connection, better awareness, less tension, I guess more space to allow and kind of welcome that conception to happen, then that’s really where we see the most gains. In collaboration with professionals like yourself, pelvic health physiotherapy I think is a really incredibly underused women’s health resource that women don’t even know about, that really could play such a huge role in terms of contributing to conception or improving the likelihood of it. So, yeah, it really comes down to kind of the tension in the function.
Spence: It’s a message I give often. Conception is about reception or being open. A message I give myself is to relax my sphincter, and that would be pelvic floor I guess. I guess tense muscles down there could inhibit proper movement of the smooth muscle, like the uterus, which needs to do that to build a lining and the ovaries to have openness to produce follicle.
Kim: Blood flow circulation, everything, absolutely. As you said, relax your sphincter. Even just right now as you’re listening, where is your tongue and what are your teeth doing. If your tongue is on the roof of your mouth and your teeth are closed, that’s a common that people don’t even recognize they’re doing, and the pelvis and the jaw are very intimately connected. When the jaw is tense, the pelvis is also tense. When we’re living in this busy world where we have so many things and priorities and we’re stressed out, we often hold a lot of tension in our jaw, which translates into tension in our pelvis,
which, once you are pregnant, you want to translate that into the birth as well. You need to be able to relax to allow things, to receive things or to have that circulation, to have the movement that contributes to that flow throughout our entire body. Places of tension become stagnant.
Spence Okay. I have a question that just came to mind, do you have any theories as to endometriosis? One of the theories behind how endometrial tissue from the uterus can flow possibly retrograde into the abdomen and various parts, and then travel to various parts of the body, is prominent in a lot of circles still, do you feel like attention down there could somehow be contributing to that?
Kim: You know what, I think I’ve never thought of it that way, but yes. I think that potentially, it could. So, when there is tension or stagnation, perhaps the tissues are looking for somewhere that’s less stagnant or less, you know what I mean. I’ve never thought of that, and I’m not going to say I’m an expert on endometriosis per se, but it is certainly a condition that is very common. It’s something that I had a lot of my clients deal with that, as well as the adenomyosis. So, yes, I think stagnation in our tissues can contribute to so many things. I can only guess that having tension or lack of movements could certainly be a contributing factor.
Spence: And period pain, do you know of any direct correlations to period pain in pelvic floor?
Kim: Yes. Many people who work on releasing tension and work on improving the function, the normal response of our pelvic floor, which is a contraction and relaxation through the day with our breath, experience less period pain, less premenstrual syndrome. So, 100% absolutely. It’s very correlated, even in birth, to your tension pain cycle. In presence of tension, it will contribute to heightened pain as well. A lot of what I work with women on infertility as well as in pregnancy as they’re preparing for their birth is letting go, learning to yield, learning to surrender. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with a plant called The Rose of Jericho, it looks like a tightly bound tumbleweed when it’s dry.
When you place it in, even like droplets of water, hardly any water at all, when you place it in there, it starts to open, it’s almost like a little bit of an octopus, but the philosophy behind it is, one it’s the blossoming, but also when it’s just a tiny bit of water at the base, what contributes to the entire hydration of the plant is the movement. That is what’s carrying the nutrients and the flow of everything around. So, we need to be dynamic in our day-to-day practices, to improve our chances for fertility and improve our pregnancies and improve our births and keep our tissues, keep the juices flowing through our body that contribute to better health overall.
Spence: Right. That is where the fitness obviously comes in.
Kim: Yeah. I’ve been in fitness for many, many years, and I’ve done everything from boot camp to Osteo fit and everything in between. It was after my second birth, I started to be teaching more and explaining things and bringing in the fitness piece to my pregnant clients, and there’s a principle in fitness called the principle of specificity, meaning when you’re training, you need to have an element of cross-training. But really, if you’re training for a triathlon, you need to train in biking and swimming and running. If you’re training for a marathon, you need to train with predominantly running. In preparation for birth, we can’t practice giving birth over and over, but we can practice for labor and what should a dynamic labor look like, and how can we take those movements and mimic them in our exercise. So, that’s when I kind of started to bring in the philosophy of fitness to prepare for birth, which is a very physical, emotional demanding exercise event really. And then, it became apparent that those are open to conceiving. As they’re wanting to start a family, how can we take those same principles and improve the function of their body and their pelvic floor to again make it receptive, and allow that process to happen.
Spence: Right. I’d like to dive a little bit into treatment here, techniques and exercises or whatever, but in my practice, the ideal for me would be someone walks through my door and says, I plan on getting pregnant or trying to get pregnant in a year, let’s get healthy. I’m like, that’s great, okay, fantastic, great choice. As far as pelvic floor physiotherapy is concerned, you said most people have no idea that it even exists until they’ve had
postpartum, or there’s incontinence, or there’s an issue, you know, pelvic pain maybe. Because they’ve had no exposure to it, some of it can be a little bit unique or different and it’s scary. And I’d like to destigmatize some of that with you. We’ll go through the different techniques and treatments, but for someone trying to conceive would going to a pelvic floor physiotherapist beforehand that ideal client that I just talked about coming before, is their benefit there…?
Kim: Absolutely. 100% yes.
Spence: And what kinds of things would actually happen? Like, can you explain some of the recommendations and treatments?
Kim: Yeah. I apologize, I’m on spring break, so I don’t have my vulva puppet and my pelvis model with me to demonstrate, but I’ll do my best with my hand. A pelvic floor physiotherapist is a physiotherapist who has additional training in the pelvic floor, and they treat men and women but this conversation is specifically about women. What happens in a pelvic floor physiotherapy assessment is many of them really are starting out as any other physio or body practitioner would look at. They’re looking at alignment, they’re looking at muscle function within the pelvis per se, how is the core functioning, how is everything lined up. And then the internal piece, typically it’s done lying down to start out with, and many practitioners will actually assess in a standing position, which I highly recommend, and I’ll get to that in a moment. But they will use gloved fingers, and they will be looking at the external genitalia, they’ll palpate around, they will look at visually what does the tissue look like, is there anything concerning there. They will spread apart the labia, and they will visually look, it’s a small amount of lubricant, and they’ll typically insert one finger, and then two, if it allows into the introitus. And what they’re feeling for is tension. So, first of all, can they insert a finger, can they insert the second one, and they would be feeling then for the balance of tension essentially between the two sides. So, is it a balanced field, is there a balanced grip, so to speak. And then, they will look at the position of the organs, so are the bladder, uterus and rectum in their ideal position. And they may often ask either for a slight bear down or a cough to see
what happens when intra-abdominal pressure is increased. And they will assess around the entire opening for that balance in tension, and then they’ll ask for a Kegel pelvic floor contraction. So, can the person contract or squeeze the fingers, but also lift them, and then, can they let that go. So, from all the things that I was talking about earlier with regards to letting go of tension, the inability to insert one or two fingers can be a first sign of tension being held. Oftentimes, the inability to contract and lift properly can actually be too much tension. Just as if I have my biceps flexed here, and I need to flex it even more, I don’t have much more to give because it’s already flexed, whereas if it’s in a nice resting length, I have full capacity to contract, lift and then let go. Does that make sense?
Spence: Yeah, sure.
Kim: They’re assessing to see if there is too much tone or hypertonicity, or maybe there might be too little tone, maybe it’s too lax. And just like a muscle that’s too tight can’t generate enough force, nor can a muscle that’s too lax. It’s an incredible piece of information. It’s actually sometimes astounding to me when women come in, I had in a woman the other day who has given birth twice, vaginal birth twice, she has no connection understanding of the pelvic floor, Kegel’s, nothing. She just has not been told or has not built that awareness, because aside from, oh, you should do your Kegel’s, that’s really the only information that women may ever hear about the pelvic floor. So, it’s a huge opportunity to learn about a part of our body that we may have been completely disconnected from for many, many years, for different reasons too. But women come out of there and think, oh, my gosh, I had no idea about this, and they really are enlightened. Some people go in there thinking, I’m not sure what am I doing, but it really truly is an incredibly valuable piece of care.
Spence: Educational big time. I’m visualizing, from my standpoint the fertility, and I’m like, that has to affect maybe sex, maybe enjoyment of sex, maybe even the production of cervical fluid, which is necessary for the sperm to move, the movement of the uterus, to move the sperm along and create a lining, and then the fallopian tubes to move the egg to the sperm.
Kim: Yep, everything you said.
Spence: So much, okay, wow.
Kim: Yeah. And even like positioning of organs. The position of the uterus may not be optimized, maybe it is that because of how they hold their pelvis, or is that because they were in a car accident five years ago, or is that because they maybe had an abdominal surgery at some point, and maybe there’s some scar tissue from an abdominal surgery that is contributing to pull on one of the organs – so many things can influence it. And pelvic floor physio is really such an essential underused piece and can really open the door, so to speak, for women looking to conceive.
Spence: Yeah, no kidding, okay. You are right. I’m so glad you’re on the show and we are having this conversation because even to me it’s eye-opening. That’s why I said I want to let you introduce yourself because it’s really truly connecting for me too. I am always looking for resources that obviously would help the women and couples that are coming to see me to conceive sooner, and carry that that pregnancy to term. These same things that they’re doing would also help probably maintain a pregnancy, which is another step. Is there anything that you feel that maybe the pelvic floor plays a role in that?
Kim: I’d have to think on that one a little bit more. I know that there’s a lot of other factors that can play a role, so I would say yes, potentially, but I’m not well-versed enough to say that one.
Spence: You’ve really got me thinking a lot here, and for me, the underpinning message now, even for my patients is going to be added to my initial dialogue is have your pelvic floor assessment. It’s to a chiropractor that looks at the pelvis and the alignment of the lower spine, and because that could also be pulling, and then maybe the tension of the pelvic floor all contributing to just an environment that’s like our jaw. You know, grinding of our jaw and not optimal. That’s that correlation. I just would like to pause for
a moment to get everyone to relax their jaw and sphincter.
Kim: Yes, absolutely. Let your let your tongue fall from the roof of your mouth, allow your teeth to rest away from one another. And then as you take a breath in, imagine your vulva, like that Rose of Jericho that is opening and blossoming, that’s what should happen. Whenever we take an inhalation, we should have the capability, the pelvic floor should have the opportunity to allow that breath to come in and expand in our pelvic floor but also in our abdomen. And women especially. I don’t mean to pinpoint women, but women typically are the most likely to do this. They suck their abdomen in all day. They want their tummy to look flat or they think that they’re engaging their core, they were told that that’s how they work the core all day long. But that doesn’t allow full expansion of the breast or full expansion of them, the corresponding expansion of the pelvic floor. So, that contributes to tension patterns as well. Allow the tension to fall from your jaw, take an inhalation into your ribs, allow your belly to be softened and expand, and then allow that to also blossom your vulva.
Spence: Okay, blossom vulva. Blossom the prostate, I’m trying to think. So now that there’s been that assessment, and there are some concerns or room for improvement or preventive measures, what are some of those treatments look like that the physiotherapist would actually employ themselves and recommendations for activity or exercise or self-care that they would send a patient home with? Like, I like your breathing and that blossoming, that’s a great tool that people could use for stress for anything. Can you highlight or expand on that?
Kim: For sure. If the physio found that maybe there was a more tension on one side for instance, or maybe because of a car accident or previous surgery, there was some scar tissue and adhesions, they would then use manual therapy techniques similar to almost massage therapy. Now, it’s not massage therapy for your pelvic floor, I don’t want to equate those two together, but essentially, they would work at releasing the adhesions that could be contributing to the imbalance in the pelvic floor contraction. And then give you that teaching with the breasts that what should be happening is kind of that inhale
and release and then exhale, and that’s when the contraction should happen. And that should naturally happen throughout their day with our breath, so there would be a teaching on that. They would probably teach you the Kegel, so how to do that contraction, that lift and letting go. I know I use a bunch of different cues, and physios will do that, they have the benefit of actually having their fingers assessing the function. I don’t do internal work so I rely on other sources, but what cues, what visualization would work for that person to enable them to get a better contraction and a letting go, so they would be teaching there. And then the pelvic floor, when we think of Kegel’s, if we’ve been told to do Kegel’s, we think either we’ve been told to do them at every red light. So, we’re sitting in our car, or some people will lie down on their bed and do it. Either place is not completely 100% terrible, but it’s not the most ideal place to do them, but also it’s a static exercise. And we are and should be more dynamic beings, we need to move and we need our pelvic floor to be responsive to that movement, so we need to make sure that we can contract and relax our pelvic floor as we move. So, a lot of what I do is take women through movements that allows them to bring that connection with their breath and pelvic floor into a bridge, into a squat, into a laundry baskets car seats, whatever daily activities, and foster that connection. The physios really work on that internal manual therapy piece. Even if there is no scar tissue, there could be tension held for some reason, a rotation in the pelvis maybe, or you know, many, many reasons. So, they work on that piece, and then, some of them will do a little bit of early movement, and then ideally there are practitioners and fitness professionals who have an understanding of the movement that can support better pelvic health. From a fertility perspective, it really is a lot about again that it’s the connection, building that awareness and then undoing those tension patterns around the hips, the pelvis, the core, the abdomen gripping, can we let that go and rebuild that internal strength so you don’t feel like you have to be gripping to feel strong through the day.
Spence: Okay. It’s such a crazy part of our body. I can’t see here, but in the in Chinese medicine, we call it the lower jaw, or a kind of between the belly button and the upper thigh, what goes on in there and that tension. There’s some traditions that really regard that as an emotional center of our body. I would imagine that there’s accept the
connections to emotions and the pelvic floor.
Kim: 100%. A huge amount of emotion in various muscles in that part, in our pelvic floor as well. There’s a lot of depending on a person’s past, there can be a lot of shame or taboo or embarrassment, and that can also contribute to those holding patterns as well. So, really it’s about connecting with our feminine energy and our power and releasing unnecessarily held tension that is interfering with our ability to enjoy sex, our ability to conceive, our ability to birth.
Spence: Big stuff. Orgasm maybe, a quick thought. And what comes up for me and from my experience, in my practice, is a lack of diagnosis, but diagnosis of unexplained infertility. And just in my experience and a lot of my colleagues’, it’s typically a diagnostic seen in women a little bit younger in their reproductive years that we see, maybe say around 30 versus with respect to 40. And that being maybe a time in a woman’s life where the wisdom of surrendering to life — I don’t know, I postulate a lot of things, but maybe contributing, because nothing else is showing up. My first thought is, wow. You’ve busted your butt your whole life and have been told, if you work hard, you will accomplish anything you want. And that’s the messaging till when you’re thirty. It’s guaranteed. I’m postulating that the pelvic floor could be playing such a role with these women.
Kim: Yeah. We applaud the government for covering midwifery. I would love to see pelvic floor physiotherapy be standard of care. If not kind of in our general health care, but at least from fertility and postpartum. It should be standard of care. It could contribute to better opportunities to conceive, better pregnancies, better births, better recoveries, less chance of incontinence, less chance of all of the things that women think are normal because they’ve had children. To me, it is such a missing link for so many women. And if we had the awareness about it and the openness, and it just became kind of like going to the dentist every year. Go for our checkup for our teeth, we go for a checkup of our pelvic floor. We can see our external genitalia, but we can’t see all that’s happening and working in that interwoven pelvis. All of that opportunity and strength and confidence
and power is in there, but we aren’t ever told how to find it or express it. And it’s often held tightly because of many different other emotions or influences. So, yeah, if it was introduced at a younger age, it could be amazing, it really would.
Spence: Not just that childbirth video, a lot more. I mean, it’s still absolutely crazy in my mind that health is not a standard educational class in our high schools, reproductive, digestive. Anyway, I can see it with pelvic pain too and periods and childbirth and sex and ability to conceive, all these things.
Kim: Even pooping. Like constipation, like learning how to position your pelvis and letting go of tension is such a huge piece with constipation, and if women had the understanding of that, oh, my gosh, we would poop so much better.
Spence: Yeah, they are very related function. Fantastic. I want to sum it up as, because we can relate to the word stress, and it may be as simple as just a place that we’re holding a whole lot of stress, especially if it’s an emotional center.
Kim: Yes, absolutely, it is an unknown place of stored tension and emotion, and we have so much opportunity there to like. We really do.
Spence: I just would keep in respect with your time- where can people find physiotherapists that work with this or people like yourself? I’ll get your details and stuff, and your details will be in the show notes and all over the place, but just in general. If someone has some coverage for physio, or do they just google it in their city, or is there associations?
Kim: Yeah. In Canada where we are, I have a listing of physiotherapists across Canada on my site. One thing I want to say is many people feel that they they’re supposed to go see a doctor first and get a referral to a physio. So, unless your benefits plan requires you to do that, you do not need a referral to see a pelvic floor physio, you can just make an appointment and go. I’m actually trying to expand my list to around the world, but as of
now it’s predominantly Canada. You can also google pelvic floor physiotherapy in your city or your province or what have you and find people that way. We have the Canadian Physiotherapy Association in Canada, we have the American Physical Therapy Association, and it’s apta.org in the United States. And they’re called physical therapists or pelvic floor physical therapists, or women’s health physical therapists is another term that you might hear in the U.S. We say physiotherapy, they say physical therapy. Australia has a huge, huge, huge network of pelvic health physiotherapists. If you are outside of Canada, google pelvic floor physiotherapy or physical therapy in your city and/or visit apta.org, and you can search that way. You do want to make sure though that when you’re calling to book your appointment, you want to double-check that the person whose profile you’ve read, maybe they say fertility or pregnancy or postpartum or whatever it is pelvic health, you want to make sure that they are trained internally, because there are other therapists who work in that realm who don’t do the internal assessment. So, just double-check that they are licensed to do internal therapy. That would be the best way to find those practitioners.
Spence: Okay. Well, you’ve changed my thoughts and idea as like I said, I will be recommending almost anyone. I rarely see women come in for help with their fertility that aren’t stressed due to that, if at very least. So, it will be something that I’m adding to my recommendations for women, no doubt about it. That’s fantastic. And this podcast, hopefully, if you’re watching this, share it. This is such a great message, I’m excited about it. We live in a crazy world, and the stress that’s out there today, there’s so much emotion, and this could be such a huge contributing factor to increase cesarean births, which is fine, but I’m just saying as well as difficulty with conception and so many of the other things we’ve talked about. Is there anything else you want to add? I need to get this in, or you are okay for now?
Kim: No, I think we got it. I think we’ve covered everything.
Spence: Thank you. Before we go though, can you let everyone know where they can find you? Obviously, we’ll put it in the show notes, but if someone’s somehow listening to
this on Apple iTunes or they can’t find it, or where should they go to find more resources and you in particular? And what services do you offer?
Kim: You can find me at vaginacoach.com, and I’m probably most active on Instagram where my handle is vagina coach, a little bit on Facebook as well. What I do, I work one-on-one with women, I work online coaching as well as I do in person coaching in Port Moody, BC to Rocky Point Wellness. And all that information is online there. and I have a lot of free resources on my Youtube channel and video section on my site. And then I also have a second business. Once you’ve been successful with conception and you’ve become pregnant, we cover the postpartum recovery, the preparation as well, but that’s some belliesinc.com. Really, my philosophy is about helping women prepare for pregnancy, prepare for births, recover intentionally and very deliberately and embracing pelvic health for life, because it’s not a quick fix, it’s something we need to pay attention to through all of our life stages. And when we have the awareness early on, it really can –I’ve said this term a couple times — but it really can open the doors to so much more life, to so much more vitality in our life stages.
Spence: Just learning to release tension everywhere, surrender to life a bit, my goodness, and what a more pleasurable time on this planet, and it’s health benefits we’ve gone through. Thank you so much. I love what you’re doing, and this message, I will definitely do what I can to help spread it. I do want to talk about maybe sometime, I’m not sure if, you are the vagina coach, I don’t know, maybe you can point me to a resource for men, because the health of our prostates. If you look into our futures, all of our futures almost our is pretty dismal, and I wonder how much of that is pelvic floor attention.
Kim: Yes, absolutely, and pelvic floor physiotherapists absolutely help with that as well. So, yes, we have definitely focus on the female pelvis today, but men, you have a pelvis, you have a pelvic floor as well. And same things, same tension, same non-optimal holding patterns contribute to challenges for men as well.
Spence: Even ejaculation, prostate, urination, which 70% of us are, or I don’t even know
the stats, are destined to not pee very well.
Kim: That’s another time.
Spence: I digress, yeah. I would love to touch on it more because it takes two to get pregnant, and I would love that too since I’m a guy. Anyway, thank you so much for taking some time out of your vacation in Palm Springs, enjoy the weather. Hopefully, when you come back to Canada it’s a little warmer. We’ll have all those resources in the show notes, go check out Kim and thanks again, everybody, for watching or listening, and we’ll see you again soon.
Kim: Thanks, Spence.