Pelvic Floor Before/After Childbirth
What is my pelvic floor?
Your pelvic floor is a broad sling of muscles, ligaments and fibres, stretching from your pubic bone to your coccyx. It forms a support ‘shelf’ for your bladder, uterus and bowel and it helps to keep these organs in place so they can function properly.
On average your pelvic floor supports 20lbs of weight from your pelvic organs, however during pregnancy this increases and these extra stresses and strains can cause a weakening in your pelvic floor muscles resulting in stress incontinence – those embarrassing moments when you leak urine say when you sneeze or laugh. It is estimated at 1 in 3 new mums will suffer with stress incontinence. Pregnancy hormones loosen your pelvic floor too – this can also contribute to ‘laughter’ leaks.
What happens to my pelvic floor during labour and childbirth?
Not only has your pelvic floor had to support the extra weight of your baby during your pregnancy, now it will be stretched and tested to the limits! The muscles of your pelvic floor will stretch to allow baby’s head through the birth canal – this will leave you with bruising and soreness. It can be over stretched if you had a difficult labour, if your baby is big or if your baby has a forceps delivery.
Don’t think that if you have a caesarean you are immune to pelvic floor problems either – your pelvic floor has still supported your baby throughout pregnancy, and just because your birth canal has not been stretched does not mean that you will have escaped the possibility of post-baby pelvic floor problems!
Kegel8 pelvic toners have programmes for new mums that automatically tighten and strengthen and stimulate the regrowth of damaged nerves in the pelvic floor.
How soon can I start to Kegel exercise?
Hopefully you performed your pelvic floor exercises throughout your pregnancy and these helped you with a natural delivery. If you didn’t exercise – fear not, it is never too late to start. Kegel exercises may be the last thing on your mind, but you need to be in good shape for your baby and your body needs to be looked after too!
Kegel exercises after your baby is born will:
- Help you to heal your vagina and perineum.
- Stop those leaks of urine - 1 in 5 women will still suffer bladder leaks after the birth of their baby.
- Help healing after an episiotomy or tear.
- Improve the circulation to your pelvic region to tighten your muscles back into shape.
Many women find that after the birth they can’t feel their pelvic floor muscles, this can be because of the trauma of birth. Nerves as well as muscles become stretched and damaged and this sometimes is responsible for the lack of sensation. You can start with manual Kegel and pelvic floor exercises – that’s the ‘squeeze and lift’ exercises as soon as you feel able to perform them properly.
Six weeks after the birth of your baby you’ll get your postnatal check. If you find it difficult to perform your manual pelvic floor exercises, if you are still suffering bladder leaks or have pelvic pain then consult your healthcare provider. Seek help as soon as possible if you feel you have problems – ignoring them can create further problems such as urine and faecal incontinence and even pelvic organ prolapse.
Kegel8 can help!
Kegel8 has exercise options to help you to strengthen, tighten and tone in a matter of weeks. There are also programmes on the Kegel8 Ultra pelvic toner and Tight and Tone that can help with nerve regrowth if you have suffered nerve damage due to a difficult birth or forceps delivery.
Our range of electronic pelvic toners and manual pelvic floor exercisers, vaginal weights and cones are ideal for women both before and after pregnancy to help you bounce back and get into the best shape ever.
Your love life will thank you too! When you are ready to be intimate again those Kegel exercises will have helped to improve your vaginal muscle tone meaning you will feel tighter and have stronger orgasms making sex more enjoyable for you both.