During your pregnancy and birth, your pelvic floor muscles can become stretched, which can weaken your bladder and bowel control.
In this post we’ll discuss some simple pelvic floor exercises you can do after you’ve given birth to help you regain control of your bladder and bowel.
You might also hear pelvic floor exercises referred to as “Kegels”.
What is the Pelvic Floor?
When we talk about the “pelvic floor”, we’re talking about a range of muscles, ligaments, and tissues that stretch across your pelvis. These muscles act as a sling to support your uterus, vagina, bladder, and bowels.
How Does Pregnancy Affect the Pelvic Floor?
Throughout pregnancy, the weight of your baby, and certain hormones, can stretch these vital muscles. Plus, giving birth can place considerable strain on them, leading to further weakening.
Why Do I Need to Do Pelvic Floor Exercises After Birth?
Stretched or weakened pelvic floor muscles can give you less control of your bowels and bladder. And in the worst-case scenario, they may even stop supporting your vital pelvic organs, resulting in a serious health condition called pelvic organ prolapse.
Pelvic floor exercises can help these muscles recover following your pregnancy and birth. This will help you regain control of your bladder and bowels, while also helping you avoid other potential health risks.
Plus, exercise improves blood flow, which can help reduce any swelling and bruising you might have following your birth. And finally, exercise can just be a great mood booster!
Because pregnancy alone can weaken your pelvic floor muscles, it’s also a good idea to do pelvic floor exercises if you’ve had a caesarean.
When To Start Doing Pelvic Floor Exercises
Talk to your doctor or midwife about starting pelvic floor exercises after your birth. Depending on how your birth went, they’ll let you know when might be best to start. But for most women, it’s safe to start doing pelvic floor exercises as soon as you feel able.
Your body uses your pelvic floor muscles every time you sneeze, cough, or laugh so it’s unlikely you’ll have to wait until your body’s “ready” to start.
Immediately after giving birth, exercise will probably be the last thing on your mind. But the sooner you start your Kegels, the sooner you can start enjoying the benefits.
Bear in mind that, following your birth, the nerves in your pelvic floor will be stretched. This means that you probably won’t be able to feel your pelvic floor for a while. So when you start your exercises, it might not feel like anything’s happening at all. But whatever you do will benefit you, and you’ll start to feel some results before long.
Also, it’s never too late to start pelvic floor exercises. Even if you gave birth months ago, you can still enjoy the benefits if you start your Kegels today.
How to Do Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises – or Kegels – are so simple and easy to do that you can do them lying down!
Just follow these steps:
- Lie down on your back or on your side. Or you might prefer doing your pelvic floor exercises when you’re enjoying a warm bath.
- Breathe in, deeply.
- Breathe out. And as you breathe out, gently squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. Focus entirely on pulling your pelvic floor muscles up and in. Avoid pulling in your abdomen muscles.
- As you continue to breathe in and out as normal, hold the squeeze for about five seconds.
- Repeat this process four or five times in a row.
- Once you get the hang of these exercises, and once you start strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, try holding the squeeze for up to 10 seconds.
- Gradually, build yourself up to 10 squeezes in a row for 10 seconds at a time.
- You could also try doing a number of shorter squeezes in a row, throughout the day.
Further Tips For Recovering From Your Birth
You’ll find lots of guidance on our Real Parenting blog to help you manage the days, weeks, and months following your birth:
- How long do you bleed after birth?
- What to expect from your first period after birth.
- How to combine breastfeeding and pumping.
- When to start wearing nursing bras.
We can also help make things more comfortable for you following birth. For example, our postpartum sanitary padscan help you stay clean, dry, and comfortable whether you’re dealing with a lochia flow or your first period.
We make our sanitary pads from only soft and natural materials, without any harmful chemicals. They’re kind to your body while remaining reliably absorbent. They’re also reusable. You can easily wash them after use, so there’s no need to keep buying more.
Browse our complete range of comfortable and eco-friendly reusable sanitary pads and breast pads.