Join 3,433 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The magic wand of French health care
March 14, 2012 3:22 PM   Subscribe

An intrepid American reporter tests out perineal re-education, a state-sponsored wonder of the French health care system. She plays a game she nicknames Pole Position (and a friend gets to play Cooter Pac-Man). Bonus: many gentle euphemisms for vagina (Earlier test here from the NYT).
posted by elgilito (30 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
In America, we can't even use the proper terms for gynecological body parts. Insurance-sponsored kegel-focused physical therapy seems like a completely different planet.
posted by muddgirl at 3:46 PM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not since the article about the French restricting the use of catsup in school lunches have I been this impressed with France.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:47 PM on March 14, 2012


This is awesome IMHO. I feel like there is this attitude in America that once you have a baby, you are effectively a non-sexual being with a flaccid worn-out vagina (unless you had a c-section). There is very little discussion to doing things that get that part of your body back into shape.
posted by melissam at 3:47 PM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ketchup. It's K-E-T-C-H-U-P.
posted by symbioid at 4:02 PM on March 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


The therapist inserts two fingers into your wuzza and talks you through a series of exercises designed to give you better control over your muscles. Can you, for example, contract your vagina and pull her fingers in and up? You may find this cringingly embarrassing, especially when afterward she tells you, “C’est assez faible”
Parfait.
posted by kavasa at 4:16 PM on March 14, 2012


France sounds nice.
posted by Pecinpah at 4:18 PM on March 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Excellent use of the cooterpacman tag.
posted by mosk at 4:28 PM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have a whole bunch of friends I'd love to send this to, but it seems really spicy to do so. Not because any of my friends are prudes (how could they be?), but because I don't want to seem like I'm accusing them of having floppy heathen regions.
posted by poe at 4:35 PM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


TIL "wuzza".
posted by Splunge at 4:37 PM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


That does it. From now on I'm calling it my "Haussmanian soufflé."

Now just TRY to get "Voulez-vous soufflez avec moi, ce soir?" out of your head.
posted by argonauta at 4:39 PM on March 14, 2012


"Moneymaker"? Really, Claire Lundberg?
posted by gingerest at 4:55 PM on March 14, 2012


I have a session of this with my kinésithérapeute tomorrow morning! The tone of this article is hilarious to me, but yes, I suppose it is sort of weird playing video games with your vagina.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 5:01 PM on March 14, 2012


I suppose it is sort of weird playing video games with your vagina.

Nahh, somewhere a Wii developer is frantically taking notes.
posted by mek at 8:24 PM on March 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


floppy heathen regions

I'm going to close my browser and go to bed now. The Internet won't improve on this tonight.
posted by brennen at 9:35 PM on March 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Am i the only one who was embarrassed by her embarrassment? She seems to understand that there are perfectly straightforward health reasons to pay attention to the state of the pelvic floor after giving birth, so maybe it's okay to chill out on the apologetic jokey thing a bit?
posted by desuetude at 11:00 PM on March 14, 2012


so maybe it's okay to chill out on the apologetic jokey thing a bit?

I think it's a rhetorical style the author consciously adopted to expand the audience of the piece: they're using comedy to engage the reader in a socially awkward but valuable discussion of the merits of this type of post-natal care. I think it's pretty effective, and makes for an entertaining read, too. The whole tone and approach makes this much more "shareable" in a social media sense, in that I would be comfortable passing this link onto a friend, while posting a scientific analysis of the values of perineal exercise on their Facebook wall would be much, much more awkward. It's exactly why it got posted here, to be certain.
posted by mek at 11:13 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


And there may be excellent health care reasons for it, but that doesn't mean you cannot feel embarassed about the whole thing at the same time as well...

Though really, the only thing the writer really has to be embarassed about is this sentence:

"France is one of the only countries that sponsors such a program".

It's one of the few, dammit.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:51 PM on March 14, 2012


It's one of the few, dammit.

The OED has examples of plural "only" going back to 1693, and an example of "one of the only" from the Encyclopedia Britannica from 1879. If you want to pick on someone's word choice, you should pick something that hasn't been a part of the English language for centuries.

I know someone probably taught you that "one of the only" was wrong at some point, but it isn't. Don't waste your effort complaining about it.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:59 AM on March 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


This article does lend context to the query of an exasperated team-mate on Xbox Live, who asked me if I was playing the game with my vagina.
posted by Ritchie at 2:41 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Philosopher Dirtbike: "It's one of the few, dammit.

The OED has examples of plural "only" going back to 1693, and an example of "one of the only" from the Encyclopedia Britannica from 1879. If you want to pick on someone's word choice, you should pick something that hasn't been a part of the English language for centuries.

I know someone probably taught you that "one of the only" was wrong at some point, but it isn't. Don't waste your effort complaining about it.
"

Forsooth, thou dost protest too much, methinks.
posted by Splunge at 5:59 AM on March 15, 2012


There's not much that's more embarrassing than the first postpartum sneeze. If the French have a way to stop that from happening, more power to them.

One of the most common sentiments I've heard from fellow momz postpartum is "IT GOES BACK TO NORMAL, RIGHT?!" Well... no... but it *becomes* normal after a while. It's hard to believe that one's bits could be rearranged like that. I mean, before you have a baby you think the parts are fairly static. They are where they are. Where are they going to GO exactly? And then... you find out exactly how much objects can shift during flight. And no, American OBs don't do a damn thing to prepare you for that. They'll talk about healing for perineal stitches, but nothing about the great landscape change.

The first time I had sex postpartum it was like doing it with someone else's vagina.

(You're welcome.)
posted by sonika at 6:34 AM on March 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Nahh, somewhere a Wii developer is frantically taking notes.

I'm seriously surprised this isn't already a thing. I'd blame the prudishness of console developers but that doesn't explain the dearth on the PC/USB landscape.
posted by Mitheral at 8:00 AM on March 15, 2012


Here are some screenshots of the games she's talking about (product page). Beta-testing must be fun.
posted by elgilito at 8:16 AM on March 15, 2012


Sonika, with the training described in the FPP, it will all go back to it's normal functionality, completely.
posted by mumimor at 10:34 AM on March 15, 2012


Oh, functionality is fine at one year postpartum. But is the equipment the same as it was pre-baby? No, not even close. As mentioned: items shift during flight. (Not mentioned, but easy to infer: nothing's "the same" when you add half an inch of scar tissue.)
posted by sonika at 11:22 AM on March 15, 2012


This is all tmi, but Sonika, I really recommend a trip to France or the equivalent. I'm not in France but in another country where this is part of normal healthcare, and though I recall having those worries, the facts turned out positively different, even after horrible pregnancies.
In a sense, it's the same as what happens to the rest of your body. The skin contracts to its normal form, the aching bones get back to stable, and those ligaments you thought were forever gone come back stronger. But none of this happens without exercise.
Of course, after no. 3, this all seems to require somewhat more assistence, and it also depends on the age where you begin. (I stopped at two, but have friends and siblings with 3+)
posted by mumimor at 12:18 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


You seem to be misunderstanding me - everything works fine. It's just... the internal geography has changed. France ain't gonna fix that.
posted by sonika at 1:54 PM on March 15, 2012


I'm not, I'm just too shy to get into the details ;-)
posted by mumimor at 1:58 PM on March 15, 2012


Wow. Cheese courses.
And I've always dreamed of playing XBox with my XBox.
posted by mimi at 2:01 PM on March 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Speaking as the recently-bereaved child of a ninety-year-old mother (who successfully delivered two 10+ pound babies), I say with emphasis that prolapse and incontinence are no laughing matter. If teaching women how to shore up their nether regions can prevent either one, I for one am all for it.
posted by kinnakeet at 11:30 AM on March 19, 2012


« Older The British newspaper The Guardian has obtained a ...  |  Last weekend, the annual Sweet... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments