Use these targeted pelvic floor exercises to avoid those embarrassing little accidents
Pregnant? It’s time to find this all-important group of muscles. Many women find it easiest to begin when they are on the loo; if you are having a wee, try to hold the ow for a second or two. This will help you find the location of the muscles.
Then, another time, when you are sitting quietly, try to mimic that feeling, pulling the muscles in and up. You should be able to do the same thing around your back passage and further forwards too.
Once you can find the whole group of muscles, repeat the squeeze around 20 times. Start by squeezing slowly, holding it for several seconds, then gradually releasing. As you improve, you can do them more quickly too. Try it both standing up, sitting and lying down.
Once you’ve mastered it, try doing it while speaking to a friend, without making any other muscles work (in your stomach or buttocks) and without squeezing the legs together. With practice, you should be able to do your squeezes without effort.
Some women are unlucky enough to have a pelvic organ prolapse, which is when one of the abdominal organs bulges into the vagina. This may be the bladder bulging into the front wall of the vagina, the cervix or uterus bulging down into the vagina or the bowel bulging forwards. This usually rectifies itself after birth with some exercises and as your muscles get stronger again but for some women, the problem can be more serious. It may require a device called a cervical pessary being inserted into the top of the vagina to hold the organs back, or in extreme cases even surgery. If you are worried about this after the birth or can feel a lump inside your vagina, experience pain during sex or your flow of urine is slow and uncomfortable, speak to your doctor as soon as you can.
Try to do them two or three times a day. Also, try to do them before a sneeze or cough, as this works them a bit harder.
Start as soon as you can during pregnancy and then again after the birth. If you’re sore or have had stitches, it may take a while to be able to bear it and you may find you can’t ‘feel’ them for a while. Don’t despair; the feelings and the muscle control will return!