Pelvic Floor Exercises Postpartum
What You Must Know
Performing your pelvic floor exercises postpartum are very important. You’re about to learn why. And also discover the best exercises for you. PF exercises are often also called Kegel exercises and are promoted as the starting point for building pelvic floor strength.
If you strengthen your pelvic floor then you will be helping to prevent or reduce the severity of incontinence.
In other words; if you perform pelvic floor exercises correctly they can help to protect you from leaking urine during pregnancy and also after your baby is born.
In this Pelvic Floor Exercises Postpartum Article:
Please Watch the Videos Below
I have four informative videos below that discuss everything from your pelvic floor, pelvic girdle pain, overactive pelvic floor, and even a video at the end dedicated to PF exercises.
What Does Postpartum Mean?
A postpartum period (or postnatal) begins immediately after the birth of a child. This is the period as the mother’s body (including hormone levels and uterus size) returns to a non-pregnant state. The immediate postpartum period are commonly used to refer to the first six weeks following childbirth. But, your recovery after childbirth can involve months or years of recovery.
Often the terms postpartum and postnatal are used interchangeably. But the medical definition often states Postpartum refers to the mother, and postnatal to the baby.
How do I find my pelvic floor muscles?
The pelvic floor muscles are between your pubic bone at the front and your tailbone at the back. The pelvic floor muscles support the bladder, bowl and uterus.
The openings from your bladder, your bowels and your womb all pass through your pelvic floor. They also maintain bladder and bowel control.
I want you to watch this video
What Do Pelvic Floor Muscles Do?
Pelvic floor muscles provide support to the organs that lie on it. The sphincters give us conscious control over the bladder and bowel.
This allows you to control the release of urine, faeces (poo) and flatus (wind) and allow us to delay emptying until it is convenient.
When the pelvic floor muscles are contracted, the internal organs are lifted and the sphincters tighten the openings of the vagina, anus and urethra. Relaxing the pelvic floor allows passage of urine and faeces.
How do I strengthen my pelvic floor?
Some exercises place more stress on the pelvic floor than others. It is essential that you discuss any concerns with your pelvic floor with your doctor prior to commencing exercise. This will ensure that all exercises and activities are appropriate for you.
When you perform pelvic floor exercises you must pay attention to using the correct technique to ensure maximum benefit. I will show you how to perform PF exercises and guide you through each week of my PregActive for Mamas program.
Why are Pelvic Floor Exercises Postpartum Important?
Often later on in life, after menopause, a weak pelvic floor can lead to prolapse which is where the pelvic organs move down and push against the walls of the vagina.
The good news is that by performing exercises now to protect your pelvic floor you can reduce the possibility of this occurring.
When you perform pelvic floor exercises you must pay attention to using the correct technique to ensure maximum benefit.
1. Learn how to effectively activate pelvic floor muscles.
2. Pelvic floor routines that consist of short and long holds.
3. Discover if you are activating pelvic floors incorrectly.
4. Learn how to ‘let go’ and disengage your pelvic floor.
How do you know if you have a weak pelvic floor?
1. Accidentally losing control of your bowel.
2. Leaking urine when you exercise.
3. Accidentally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze.
4. Pain in the pelvic area.
5. Constant urge to go to the toilet.
6. Accidentally passing wind.
8. Poor sensation or leaking during sex.
Can I Have an Over Active Pelvic Floor?
Yes, some women have an over active pelvic floor which can show similar symptoms to a weak pelvic floor. Continuing with more pelvic floor exercises may not help with this situation as the focus needs to be more on releasing and relaxing the pelvic floor.
If you are are unsure, it is best to visit a Women’s Health Physiotherapist and they can guide you as to the best pelvic floor exercises for you.
Kegel exercises (also known as PF exercises) are exercises that you can do to make the muscles of your pelvic floor stronger. Once you know how to do Kegel exercises, you can do them anytime and anywhere. In the car. Waiting in line at the shops. In the privacy of your own home.
Can you overdo Kegels?
Yes! And i have a great interview with our Women’s Health Physio in our members-only area why too much is not a good thing.
How soon can I do pelvic floor exercises postpartum?
You can still do pelvic floor exercises from the first day after the birth. If you had a caesarean then you will soon learn that this was a major operation and it will take you at least 6 weeks to heal. I want you to avoid abdominal exercises until you have healed and your doctor has given you the all clear.
How long does pelvic pain last after birth?
After childbirth, you may feel pain in their pelvis long after you have left the hospital. If this happens to you, it may be because of a pelvic bone problem.
When your baby’s head presses down on your pelvic bones, it may create a gap between two bones at the front of your pelvis. These bones come together through connective tissue called ligaments. What can happen is that they often stretch more easily during pregnancy which leads to pelvic girdle pain.
How is Pelvic Girdle Pain diagnosed?
Pelvic girdle pain is pain in the front and / or the back of the pelvis. This pain is often caused by the joints moving unevenly and the pelvic girdle becoming less stable.
Diagnosis is usually made by clinical examination. Your doctor will then likely refer you to a women’s health physiotherapist who will examine the muscles in the back, pelvic and hip area.
Pelvic Girdle Pain Symptoms Include:
1. Tightness in upper back.
2. Pain in the lower back area.
3. Pain in the pubic area.
4. Difficulty in getting up or sitting down.
5. Difficulty rolling over in bed.
6. Bladder dysfunction.
7. Pain in in the legs.
8. Pain in in the buttocks.
9. Clicking in the pelvis when walking.
Pelvic Girdle Pain treatment?
When you see a physiotherapist, they will provide you with a management plan including appropriate core stability exercises. They will also discuss additional treatment options with you.
If your pelvic girdle pain continues after child birth, your physiotherapist recommend additional exercises to help strengthen the pelvic area.
Along with treatment, you should avoid lifting any heavy objects, climbing stairs, or standing for extended periods of time.
How long does it take to strengthen pelvic floor?
After 6 to 8 weeks, you should feel better and have fewer symptoms. For some women, it could take longer.
If you feel that these exercises are not helping you, keep doing them. Results are not always immediate. The Mayo Clinic states that Kegel exercises may take several months to have an effect on urinary incontinence.
Are planks bad for pelvic floor?
I am not a fan of planks and here’s why. Planks can cause excessive intra-adominal pressure, which can cause damage and strain to the deep core, including your pelvic floor. There are better exercises you can do.
Postpartum Pelvic Floor Exercises Video
Tips to Master Your Pelvic Floor Exercises Postpartum
1. Perform these exercises slowly, with control.
2. Think about gently activating your pelvic floor not ‘squeezing’ or ‘clenching’.
3. Only complete as many repetitions as you feel comfortable doing. More is not better, it is all about quality and technique.
4. If you are unsure whether you are performing the pelvic floor exercises correctly, book in with a women’s health physiotherapist.
5. A physiotherapist will be able to tell you if you are activating correctly. And whether there are aspects of your pelvic floor you need to work on.
You should perform Kegel exercises during pregnancy and after childbirth. At first, it takes a while to learn how to correctly do your Kegels.
Once you know how to do them, you can do them anywhere, anytime. The benefits will be well worth the time commitment.
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