Pre-Natal & Post-Natal Pelvic Floor Tips
It is common for expecting and new mothers to experience small bladder leakage. Pelvic floor training can help prevent and improve the condition.
What to anticipate when you're pregnant
Did you know your body moves organs to accommodate your new baby? It will also release the muscle-relaxing hormone progesterone to prepare you for labour. Typically, this means your body will find it harder to hold the pelvic floor organs in place, leading to small leaks and the urge to pee. Pelvic floor exercises are a simple, effective and excellent way to strengthen your muscles.
Pelvic floor & pregnancy
Your pubococcygeal, better known as PC muscles, provide support to your pelvic organs (urethra, bladder, bowel). When training/exercising this muscle during pregnancy, lying on your side is more effective. Promoting relaxation, this position also allows you to focus on strengthening your muscles while avoiding the extra level of difficulty that gravity adds if you're sitting or standing.
What happens after birth?
During the first 1-2 weeks after giving birth, you will notice that you're urinating much more frequently. This is because you are getting rid of excess fluid retained during pregnancy. Although you may have been diligent with your pelvic floor training during pregnancy, not every part of us bounces back immediately. You can try and make time for exercises when sitting, feeding, or picking the baby up. Start with gentle pelvic floor contractions as it is normal to feel sore after the baby is born. Stop or take a break if you are in discomfort. The main thing is to keep training - it can take up to 3 months to see some improvement, and it may seem minor. If you feel the exercises are not working after three months, or if you have any questions, talk to your doctor and/or physical therapist.
Little leaks or accidents can happen without much notice, which can be frustrating and embarrassing. But rest assured that this is especially common, and there is a lot you can do to regain control of your bladder. Pelvic floor training is a promising start, but talking to your healthcare provider during prenatal and antenatal check-ups or chatting with friends who may have gone through a similar experience can help.