Pelvic Floor Exercises.. not as simple as ‘Squeeze’ 1..2..3..

Ladies we’ve all heard our doctors harp on about it, we’ve all heard (or been) the horror story of wetting ourselves trying to go back home quickly to go to the toilet (true story), so why do we still not prioritise doing our pelvic floor exercises?

Your pelvic floor, which is located between your legs and runs from your pubic bone at the front to the base of your spine at the back, actually holds your pelvic organs (uterus, vagina, bladder and bowel) in place! By not doing exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor you run the risk of:

  • urinary incontinence
  • reduced sensitivity during sex
  • pelvic organ prolapse (one or more pelvic organs bulges into your vagina)

Now let me tell you, as someone with a pelvic organ prolapse which was a result of having Rupert, trying to exercise with one of these without doing my pelvic floor exercises was pretty terrifying!

How to do pelvic floor exercises properly!

Please don’t just squeeze and release your pelvic floor.. I know you have been doing this as you’ve been reading.. as there is lots more to it than that!

PelvicFloorWomen

As you can see from the picture above, your pelvic floor has the ability to affect all your pelvic organs – so we need to make sure that you strengthen ALL the muscles supporting them. We will focus on the urethra, vagina and back passage (anus).

This may require a little visualisation…

  • Urethra – lets just isolate this muscle first. The doctors will always say “Imagine you are trying to stop yourself peeing” – which is obviously great advice, but as soon as they say that you can’t even remember how you would even go to the toilet, let alone stopping peeing! So instead I am going to say “focus on the muscles at the front of your pelvis, as you squeeze imagine you are drawing up these muscles right to your belly button. These are the muscles supporting your urethra”. Ok?
  • Vagina – hopefully you don’t need much help here, but focus to the middle of your pelvis. These are the muscles that you would use during sex, inserting/taking out a tampon etc… you will do the same thing as I said before for the urethra muscles; imagine yourself drawing up into your body’s centre when you squeeze these muscles.
  • Back passage – Finding these muscles should be relatively simple. These are the muscles that you will use to stop yourself passing wind; when you squeeze draw these muscles in really tight but also draw upwards.

All pelvic floor muscles tire easily, so don’t go too crazy, the key is to do them regularly but pretty please don’t just squeeze and let go!

There are 2 types of pelvic floor exercises to do

  • Fast Twitch
    • Here you will need to squeeze for 1 second and then let go
    • Do this for EACH muscle (urethra, vagina and back passage) separately 30 times
  • Slow Twitch
    • Here you will need to squeeze for 15-20 seconds (may not be that long initially) and then let go
    • Do this for EACH muscle (urethra, vagina and back passage) separately 30 times

How often do I need to do these?

As often as you remember! Ideally 3-5 times a day. I always used to do them when I was breastfeeding or feeding Rupert as I knew that it was a bit of time where I was sitting down and could focus.

Remember that even if you do the minimum amount it will still take about 6 months for things to resemble anything close to normal.

Advice when starting to exercise

  • Wear a maternity pad/sanitary towel – I’m not joking, seriously wear one
  • Don’t do any high impact exercises for about 4-6 months (tuck jumps, bench jumps etc) all of these will put a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor and may eventually cause a prolapse
  • When doing any exercise that causes you to strain, protect your pelvic floor by drawing it up so that it is stable
  • Don’t over train, give these muscles a much needed rest

I really hope that this helps!

Let me know if you have any questions

A xx

 

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