Your pelvic floor muscles are located in your pelvis, they stretch like a hammock from your pubic bone to your tailbone or coccyx and from side to side.

They act to support your pelvic organs including your bladder, uterus and bowel, control the passage or urine, wind, and faeces, and have a role in sexual sensation and function.

You should exercise and retrain your pelvic floor muscles after childbirth even if you have had a cesarean delivery or don’t have any symptoms of pelvic floor weakness.

Signs and symptoms of weak pelvic floor muscles include: leakage of urine when you cough, sneeze, lift, laugh, jump or vomit.

Needing to rush to the toilet and sometimes not making it in time, difficulty holding in wind, a heaviness, dragging, lump or bulge in the vagina, pelvic or lower back pain, pain or lack of sensation during sex.

If your health professional has recommended that you progress to strengthening your pelvic floor, here’s how to do it: lie in a comfortable position on your back or side, slowly squeeze and lift the muscles around your anus and vagina, imagine you are trying to stop passing wine or urine. Please do not try this on the toilet.

Continue to breathe normally and ensure your abdominals, buttocks, and thigh muscles are relaxed. At the end of each squeeze, you should feel a distinct drop or ‘letting go’ feeling and relax fully.

Try to hold for three seconds, relax, and repeat eight to ten more times. Repeat three to five times a day.

Build these exercises into your routine while you feed or play with your baby.

It is recommended that you wait until your six-week postnatal check before increasing your intensity level. It is important to check with your doctor, midwife, or continence professional before returning to exercise.

10 December 2019

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