4 pelvic floor hacks for new mums
Updated: Apr 24
#1 Use 'The Knack'
Leaking urine or wind in the early days when you've just delivered your baby is exceptionally common, but the good news is you don't have to just tolerate it. This technique can not only nip it in the bud, but improve the connectivity between brain and muscle, when they are just not talking to one another very well.
When you feel a cough or sneeze coming on, a split second before it arrives, try to close and lift the back passage and hold it during the cough/sneeze. This generates a bit of pressure so that the pressure caused by coughing/sneezing doesn't allow urine/wind to sneak out.
Many ladies report an instant improvement with this technique. For others it can take a bit of time to get to grips with, but even attempting to do this initially is a good start.
#2 Use your exhale breath to your advantage.
When we breathe out, we reduce pressure in the abdominal and pelvic cavity, thanks to the diaphragm rising upwards. So as you rise from a chair, or lift up your baby, or pick up the pram to put it in the car boot etc.....do it with an EXHALE.
Take a moment ahead of these tasks to inhale, gently start your exhale then perform the task while you continue the out breath.
This is also a great tool to avoid an unnecessary downward pressure on the pelvic organs in the early days after birth, which can help avoid annoying leaks and uncomfortable vaginal heaviness.
#3 Use a poo step.
Having a bowel motion after just having a baby isn't much fun. Bearing down or straining to go can feel really uncomfortable and isn't a great thing to do either. Pelvic health Physiotherapists recommend (for all people, at all times, but especially for postnatal ladies) using a small step or foot stool under your feet while you are sitting on the toilet. An upturned toilet roll under each foot works too (if you are away from home or don't have a step to hand!).
This puts your knees slightly higher than your hips which helps to fully relax and lengthen your pelvic floor, so it can let things out! It also 'un-kinks' your rectum, so you aren't having to push against any resistance to open your bowel.
#4 Drink plenty of water
Your gut will draw water from your stool to meet your body's requirements, so if you aren't drinking enough, this process will make your stool firm and hard to pass. Drinking plenty of water and managing constipation is the first step in the process of tackling many pelvic health conditions. If you are Breastfeeding, your demands for fluid are even higher and you body will always divert fluid to meet your babies needs ahead of your own.
If you are straining on the toilet, prolapse symptoms can be more of a problem plus you are potentially over stretching your pelvic floor muscles and support structures of the pelvic organs. Being well hydrated can help avoid this scenario.
If you would like some expert guidance to assist your pelvic floor recovery, you can access this via my online Physio led postnatal pilates classes. I'll teach you modified pilates exercises that are specifically designed for the postnatal population, drawing on my many years of clinical experience as a Chartered Physiotherapist. We can pave your way back to running, fitness classes and jumping without pelvic discomfort and leaking, through postnatal rehab.
Free trials are available should you wish to try a class with me. Further details on my online postnatal classes can be found here.
Mother Nurture Pilates | Physiotherapist led Antenatal & Postnatal Pilates classes