The pelvic floor muscles are at the bottom of your pelvis, supporting the pelvic organs. These muscles have been stretched in pregnancy and during delivery, which may cause problems. Pelvic floor muscle exercises are needed to:
- Improve muscle strength so you can control your bladder and bowel
- Help prevent prolapse of the pelvic organs
- Increase sexual enjoyment for you and your partner
- To start the pelvic floor muscle exercises as soon as possible after you’ve had your baby
- To do the exercise in various positions unless you are still sore from delivery
- To do gentle, rhythmic tightening and relaxing of the muscles, which may help with discomfort and pain
How to exercise your pelvic floor muscles
Try to imagine you are stopping yourself passing urine or wind. Try to ‘squeeze and lift’ the pelvic floor muscles. I found it difficult to feel much happening at first but keep trying. Hold the squeeze for a couple of seconds but do not hold your breath.
Gradually increase the hold time and the number of times until you can hold the squeeze for up to ten seconds and repeat up to ten times. You may find that Abdominal Hollowing takes place at the same time. Try exercising in different positions (standing, sitting and lying) and establish a routine, such as every time you’ve just fed your baby.
Please remember that it can take up to several months for the pelvic floor muscles to return to their previous strength. It is important that the pelvic floor muscles are able to react quickly to stop you leaking when you cough or sneeze. Always tighten your pelvic floor muscles before and during any activity requiring effort. For example, lifting your baby out of their moses basket.
To be effective you need to concentrate and persevere with these exercises. Pelvic floor muscle exercises are important for life and for all women.
Thanks for reading and please make sure you read our article on Essential Exercises After Childbirth.