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2 simple exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor after birth

[ 0 ] 19/09/2015 |

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Guest writer Carolyn Sultana*

 

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that spans from the pubic bone at the front and the tail bone at the back and from the base of the pelvis. This sling of muscle and ligaments function to support the bladder, bowel and uterus.  Every woman needs to be aware of these muscles and of how to contract them especially during the antenatal and postnatal period.  

 

What are the symptoms of a weak pelvic floor?

There are different types of incontinence with the most common being stress incontinence with leakages on activities such as cough, sneeze, laugh, lift, sex or exercise.  People might also experience urgency and urge incontinence with inability to reach the toilet on time and very frequent visits to the toilet.

  • Prolapse

Since the role of the pelvic floor is support of pelvic organs, its weakness can lead to prolapse of the bladder, uterus and bowel.

 

What causes the pelvic floor to become weak?

  • Childbirth
  • Being overweight
  • Constipation and excessive straining to empty the bowels
  • Persistent heavy lifting
  • Repetitive excessive coughing
  • Menopause with its hormonal changes

 

How can the muscles be strengthened?

Pelvic floor exercises need to be practiced daily and incorporated into the persons’ routine.  When you exercise you need to train both slow and fast contractions.  Adopt a comfortable position in sitting, lying or standing and concentrate on your contractions.  During the exercises aim to keep your buttocks and thigh muscles relaxed and breathe normally.

 

SLOW CONTRACTIONS: Imagine you are trying to stop yourself from passing gas and at the same time you want to think about stopping the flow of urine.  You should feel a squeeze and a lift sensation.  Try to hold this contraction as long as you can for a maximum of 10 seconds and slowly release.  Rest for 10 seconds in between each contraction.  Aim to build repetitions slowly and to a maximum of 10 repetitions.

 

FAST CONTRACTIONS: Squeeze and lift your pelvic floor muscles as strongly and quickly as your can and only keep the contraction for 1 seconds.  Release and repeat for a maximum of 10 contractions.

 

If you are unsure of how to do your exercises, or you do not feel any squeeze and lift when you try to contract, it is important to seek help from a specialized women’s health physiotherapist.  A session at the physiotherapist will involve an internal examination to assess the strength and teach a proper pelvic floor contraction.

 

*Carolyn Sultana is a mum and a Women’s Health Physiotherapist BSc (Hons) SRP, MSc . Contact details:  M: 79962109, Clinic: T: 21493555 , St Anne’s Clinic, Triq Karmenu Pirotta, Birkirkara, E: carolynsultana@gmail.com, Facebook: WomensHealthPhysiotherapyMalta

Category: Guest posts

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