The pelvic floor is made of layers of muscles that stretch like a supportive hammock from the pubic bone in the front all the way to the end of the backbone.
If you have a weak pelvic floor you may realize that you seem to be leaking a bit of urine when you cough, sneeze or strain in any way. This condition is very common and you should not feel embarrassed. This condition is incredibly common after pregnancy and during it.
Why do pelvic floor exercises?
By performing pelvic floor exercises, you can strengthen the muscles. Pelvic floor muscle training will help the body cope with the growing weight of the baby. Healthy, fit muscles before the baby is born will mend more easily after the birth and helps to reduce or avoid stress incontinence after pregnancy. All pregnant women should do pelvic floor exercises, even if you’re young and not suffering from stress incontinence now. Even though this condition is common, consult with a doctor if the problem is at all distressing or is difficult to cope with.
Will they get stronger automatically?
No they will not. You’ll need to help your pelvic floor muscles get strong again. If you don’t strengthen the muscles after each baby, you’re likely to wet yourself more often when you reach middle age. Pelvic floor muscles tend to weaken with age. Menopause can make incontinence worse.
What pelvic exercises can you do?
To keep these muscles working well, make pelvic floor exercises part of your routine for the rest of your life. You can start during pregnancy and continue after birth.
- Sit and lean slightly forward with a straight back, then hold.
- Squeeze and lift the muscles as if you are trying to stop a wee, do this in little pauses. Hold the squeeze as you count to 8; relax for 8 seconds. If you can’t hold for 8, just hold as long as you can.Repeat as many as you can, about 8 to 12 squeezes. Repeat the whole thing 3 times.
- Keep breathing while exercising. Try not to tighten your buttocks. Your focus is on the pelvic floor, no other muscle group should be strained.
Pelvic floor exercises are not necessarily easy to do correctly. The pelvic floor muscles can be difficult to isolate, much like how it is hard to find your core. When done correctly, they are very effective, but the wrong technique can make a problem worse. So consult a doctor or physiotherapist until you get the technique right.