Most women find it difficult not to leak urine when they sneeze, cough or run both during pregnancy and after giving birth At this time, the muscles in the pelvic floor are swollen and the strain of carrying your baby has taken its toll Difficulties with bladder weakness usually fade once the swelling has gone down, but the muscles need to be exercised to regain their former strength and the only way to do this is with pelvic floor exercises
Exercising your pelvic muscles after giving birth will help your body recover It increases the blood flow and this helps to heal any stitches At the same time it will help prevent problems with incontinence in the future
How do you do pelvic floor exercises?
Step 1 - Sit, stand tall, lie on your back with your knees bent and legs comfortably apart or kneel on your hands and knees
Step 2 - Close your eyes, imagine what muscles you would tighten to stop yourself from passing wind or passing urine If you can’t feel a distinct tightening of these muscles, ask for some help from a women’s health physiotherapist She will help you to get started
Step 3 - Now that you can feel your pelvic floor muscles working, tighten them around your front passage, vagina and back passage as strongly as possible and hold for 3 - 5 seconds By doing this, you should feel your pelvic floor muscles 'lift up' inside you and feel a definite 'let go' as the muscles relax If you can hold longer (but no more than a maximum of 8 seconds), then do so Remember, the squeeze must stay strong and you should feel a definite 'let go'
Repeat up to 10 times or until you feel your pelvic floor muscles fatigue Rest for a few seconds in between each squeeze