Pelvic floor muscle exercises in the post natal period
Pelvic floor muscle exercises in the post natal period – Jo Fordyce
- Am I doing my pelvic floor exercises in the right way?
- How many should I be doing?
- There are some days I don’t have time to do any, am I okay after having my baby?
These questions are frequently asked by new Mums who come to see Jo Fordyce, Specialist physiotherapist in obstetrics and gynaecology.
After being pregnant for 9 months, followed by delivery of your baby, maybe breastfeeding, your pelvic floor muscles will take time to improve with both function and strength. You don’t have to do them all the time, what is important is to locate where they are, and ensure you are working them correctly.
Your pelvic floor muscles are important for bladder and bowel control, as well as pelvic organ support and sexual function…what is important is to locate where they are, and ensure you are working them correctly.
Your pelvic floor muscles are important for bladder and bowel control, as well as pelvic organ support and sexual function. The pelvic floor muscles are like a sling passing from the front of your
pelvis, from your pubic (groin) bone going underneath through to your coccyx (tail bone). Going through these muscles are three openings, in front the urethra (where pee comes out), vagina (middle) and rectum (back passage).
How to do the exercises:
They can be done in any position, lying with your knees bent up, feet on the floor/bed, side lying, sitting and standing. Imagine you are trying to stop breaking wind by drawing up around the back passage, then imagine trying to stop the flow of urine (pee) around the front passages, and lift up inside.
Hold the contraction for as many seconds as you can, before letting go. Repeat up to 10 times.
It is also important to be able to work the pelvic floor muscles quickly , so practice lifting up for one second before letting go. This helps with control with stresses , such as coughing, sneezing , and lifting your baby.
You may feel your lower abdominal (stomach) muscles coming in as well, physiotherapy research has shown that both sets of muscles work together . However, you should not be bringing in your gluteal (buttock) muscles, pelvic tilt or holding your breath.
If you are unsure how to exercise this important group of muscles then book in to come and have a post natal MOT assessment with Jo, and then your pelvic floor and abdominal muscle exercise programme can be started, specific to your needs.
If you are leaking with coughing, sneezing, or running, if you are rushing to the toilet because you cannot hold on, if you have any heaviness, dragging in the perineum (area between your legs), or if you have resumed sexual activity and it is painful, these are all treatable problems. Again, do book in for assessment and treatment with Jo.