Pelvic Floor Exercises Following Childbirth
What are Pelvic floor exercises?
Pelvic floor exercises are to help exercise the muscles of the pelvic floor which surround and support the urethra, vagina and rectal areas.
These layers create a hammock like structure from the tailbone of your spine to the pubic bone at the front.
The bladder, the womb/uterus and the bowel are supported by the pelvic floor and these muscles play an important part in bladder and bowel control and sexual sensation.
Why would I need to do Pelvic floor exercises?
Pelvic floor exercises will help you to strengthen your muscles after you have given birth and you will need to persist with these for at least 3 months postnatally to feel any improvement.
Regardless of whether you have had a natural delivery or a caesarian section, the pelvic floor is still affected by the growing baby which can weaken the pelvic floor.
One of the advantages of Pelvic floor exercises is that they can be done anywhere, when you are lying down, walking, sitting or standing, no one will be able to tell!
Finding you pelvic floor muscles.
Finding your pelvic floor is not that difficult, all you need to do is to imagine you are trying to stop passing wind and to stop urinating at the same time, this action lifts the pelvic floor up inside you. You are contracting all those muscles that surround the rectum and urethra and so you have now found your pelvic floor you need to do exercises with it in order to prevent prolaspe of bladder or uterus later on in life.
How to do Pelvic floor exercises
- Draw up and tighten the muscles around your anus, urethra and vagina up inside you and hold for around 5 seconds then relax. You should have that feeling of 'letting go'.
- Repeat this again so that you are contracting your muscles for 5 seconds and relaxing for the count of 10 seconds.
- If you feel that you can do this relatively easy you could make it slightly harder by contracting your pelvic floor for 10 seconds instead.
- Repeat this for the maximum of 8-10 contractions
- Next, do faster, shorter contractions about 5-10
- You need to repeat this whole process about 4-5 times per day.
Helpful tips to remember
- Try to remember to do your Pelvic floor exercises around 4-5 times per day, perhaps when you are feeding your baby or remember when you wash your hands or touch water or answer the phone
- If you think you are going to leak by coughing or sneezing then pull up your pelvic floor beforehand and the control of leaking will improve.
- If you are not sure about which muscles you are exercising then place your finger into your vagina and using your pelvic floor muscles clench your finger with your vagina, you should feel a squeezing sensation which tells you you are using the correct muscles.
- When you pass urine stop the midstream flow and then continue this is working your pelvic floor.
- Let your bladder become full before passing urine and don't just go' in case' as this will help strengthen the pelvic floor without leaking.
- Avoid being constipated as this will aggravate and put more strain on the pelvic floor.
- Eventually when you have strengthened your pelvic floor you will need to exercise them twice a day to ensure no problems reoccur.
- Remember you can do these exercises at any time and anywhere and nobody will know your doing them!
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