Do you have trouble with leakage when you sneeze, exercise, or perform any movement in general?
This is common among mums, but you don’t (and shouldn’t) have to put up with it!
The pelvic floor consists of muscles and ligaments that support the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus and bowel) as well as helping to maintain continence, which is preventing leakage of urine, wind or faeces.
The muscles of the pelvic floor lie like a hammock from the pubic bone to the tailbone and out to the sit bones at the side.
It is well known that childbirth can affect the pelvic floor and its muscles and ligaments. This may lead to urinary or faecal (bowel) incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and pelvic floor pain. This is something you do not have to live with!
To help strengthen your pelvic floor and prevent incontinence, you will need to perform kegel exercises, and/or engage these muscles during exercise. It’s very important to strengthen your pelvic floor before performing high intensity exercise, such as jumping and running. This can cause further weakening, and damage to your pelvic floor. Instead, you will need to perform modified or lower impact options – these are always given in our workouts over in the Fitt Mum Club. See below for more info on exercises.
You can do your kegels at any time – tightening the pelvic floor muscles should feel like you are squeezing and lifting up into your vagina. Similar to when you hold on to pee.
Here is a programme you can follow at home:
8-12 strong lifts – 3 times per day
Hold each lift 6-8 seconds followed immediately by 3-4 fast lifts
Rest 6 seconds
Do these 3-4 days per week for 5 months to attain ideal strength
Do these 2 days per week to maintain strength
When you get into exercise, make sure you don’t put too much pressure on your pelvic floor until you have strengthened it.
- Avoid jumping type exercises
- Avoid deep squats and lunges
- Avoid heavy weights
- Avoid exercises that create direct downward pressure on the pelvic floor
- Stick to gentler core exercises such as ‘Supermans’, ‘Glute Bridges’, & ‘Rollbacks’ (see how to do these below).
Below are a few options to safely start working on strengthening your core & pelvic floor. To ensure you are engaging your pelvic floor during the exercises, imagine that you are needing to go to the toilet and ‘holding on’. You should feel your pelvic floor ‘lift’.
Alternating Supermans (bird/dog)
- Start on all fours (your hands and knees)
- lift your arm, along with the opposite leg so they are in line with your torso
- Squeeze your glutes, engage your core & pelvic floor, and point your toes to activate your leg muscles
- Hold for a few seconds
- Bring back to the floor and switch sides
- Repeat 10-12 reps each side, 2-3 sets
- Lie flat on your back with your knees bent & feet flat on the floor
- Lift your hips up so that your body forms a straight line
- Squeeze your glutes (at the top) and engage your pelvic floor
- Come back to start position
- Repeat 10-12 reps, 2-3 sets
- Sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent. Feel free to slip feet under the couch.
- Start in a ‘situp’ position and slowly rollback towards the floor
- Don’t sit up like you would in a normal ‘situp’ – push yourself back up with your hands
PERIFIT KEGEL EXERCISER
If you find you’re forgetting to get your kegels in, or need something tangible to help you see results, try the Perifit kegel exerciser.
It’s not cheap, but worth it if you want to strengthen down there. Every now & then they have specials pop up on their facebook page too.
The Perifit is a device that was designed to reduce incontinence, boost post-natal recovery, increase sexual wellness & pleasure, & reduce prolapse.
I have tried it, and it works! Take a look at my review here