As a new mother, you likely have a lot on your mind. However, one thing that probably isn’t on your mind is doing pelvic floor exercises. Many moms don’t realize these exercises are something that should be done, and even those who have been told aren’t likely to remember them in the hustle and bustle of new motherhood. That’s why we’re here to remind you.
You see, pelvic floor exercises are super important after giving birth, and they are something you will definitely want to fit into your busy mama schedule. Luckily, they’re super easy to do anytime and anyplace, so you can kill two birds with one stone and do your exercises while nursing, eating dinner, or even taking a shower.
Why Pelvic Floor Exercises Are Important
Wondering why these exercises are so important? During pregnancy, a lot of weight is put on a woman’s pelvic muscles. That, coupled with the hormones that help your ligaments loosen and stretch in preparation for labor—and throw in delivery itself—and you’re left with a pretty weak pelvic floor.
When your pelvic floor is weakened, you may leak urine and gas and may even find it hard to control your bowel movements. As if those things weren’t bad enough, a weak pelvic floor can also lead to prolapse, a problem that involves internal organs slipping into the pelvis.
While this may not happen right away, a pelvic floor that has been weakened by childbirth and has never been made strong again will increase the risk of prolapse happening later in life.
What If I Had a Cesarean?
Some women seem to believe that having a C-section means they are exempt from doing pelvic floor exercises. However, this simply isn’t true. Pregnancy itself puts a lot of stress on your pelvis, and how you give birth doesn’t change the fact that your pelvic floor will likely need some toning after pregnancy.
When to Begin Pelvic Floor Exercises
You can start doing pelvic floor exercises as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. These exercises are perfectly safe, and the muscles used are ones you use daily when sneezing or coughing anyway. That said, you might have trouble feeling your pelvis immediately after giving birth thanks to swelling. Not to worry! This will go away soon enough.
How to Do Pelvic Floor Exercises
Not sure how to do these exercises? Luckily, they are super easy to do. Simply pull your muscles in as if you are trying to keep yourself from urinating, and hold for five seconds while continuing to breathe like normal. Repeat this several times each session and try to do several sessions throughout the day. Make sure you are using only the muscles in your pelvis, not your stomach muscles.
Once you get the hang of holding the squeeze for five seconds, try holding for a bit longer. Eventually, you should be able to hold for ten seconds at a time.
When to Seek Help
A few weeks after giving birth, you should be back to normal. Contact your doctor if you...
- Can't feel or tighten your pelvic floor muscles
- Leak urine
- Feel pain in perineum
- Experience heaviness in the vagina
- Have issues during bowel movements
As you can tell, pelvic floor exercises are an important part of postnatal care. Work them into your day however you see fit and you’ll thank yourself later!