What pelvic floor exercises should I do after birth?

Post-natal pelvic floor exercises are so important!

All women should perform pelvic floor exercises on a daily basis, preferably three times a day.

There is excellent research to show that this can help keep your pelvic floor healthy, and prevent problems such as stress incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

For women who experience problems—such as bladder or bowel leakage, or pelvic organ prolapse—pelvic floor muscle exercises should be practised up to six times a day.

For many women, the first time that they hear about pelvic floor exercises is during, or soon after, their first pregnancy. This is an excellent time to start a pelvic floor exercise programme and is completely safe to do at any stage of pregnancy.

During the first trimester, women are often overwhelmed with information, changes to their body, or concerns about their pregnancy. It is common to “put off” doing things for themselves.

Once the second trimester arrives, it is often a better time to start to focus on what your body needs to keep healthy during pregnancy and start to prepare for the birth and postpartum period.

As soon as you feel able to, it is an excellent plan to begin your pelvic floor exercises. Start with one set a day if that makes it more achievable and aim for ten slow squeezes, holding for up to ten seconds each time and relaxing fully between each one. Then do ten fast squeezes, again letting go fully between each one. Once you have developed a habit then aim to do these three times a day. However, if you struggle with them or experience any urinary leakage then do speak to your midwife or a pelvic health physiotherapist for advice and support.

Keep doing these exercises throughout your pregnancy and after you have had your baby (take a day or two off immediately after and then ease your way back into them)! It is never too late to start, so if you didn’t do them during your pregnancy then please don’t worry, start slowly now and build up your strength.

Remember, any issues with your pelvic floor function should be mentioned to your midwife or pelvic health physiotherapist.

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