Postpartum life is unpredictable, messy, and ugly, especially when it concerns the pelvic floor muscle. The possibility of bladder leakage is so plausible that it isn’t unusual to find new mommies stocking up on extra undies/pair of pants wherever they go. Pregnancy and childbirth are certainly physically transformative times, so you must know how to look after your pelvic floor after birth.
Optimizing your pelvic muscle strength following childbirth can help prevent unwanted problems, such as stress incontinence, prolapse, and painful intercourse. Following are some foolproof tips on strengthening your pelvic floor.
Tip #1: Body Awareness & Optimal Posture
In several countries – France, to name one – all postpartum mothers receive pelvic floor muscle therapy after giving birth. Sadly, that isn’t the case here in the U.S. Hence, several women have to unearth the cure for sneaky leaks on their own. Body awareness and maintaining an ideal posture in the early postpartum days can set you up for a better pelvic floor muscle recovery. Ensure you sit and stand upright while lengthening your spine and drawing the shoulder blades gently backward. An optimal posture (upright than slumped) is the best position to start exercising and strengthening your pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles.
Tip #2: Avoid Constipation & Straining
OK, we’re going to get a bit personal here, but it’s vital. To promote pelvic muscle strength after birth, it’s critical that you avoid constipation or straining to evacuate your bowels. These can further weaken your pelvic floor muscles. Therefore, eat plenty of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits to soften your stool. Additionally, you may also use laxatives to prevent straining and ease bowel motion. If you still face constipation problems, I suggest you talk to your OB or midwife.
Tip #3: Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises, also called “Kegel Exercises,” can drastically help you strengthen the pelvic floor after birth. Doing Kegel exercises regularly can keep the pelvic floor muscles working to stop those postpartum leaks and tighten your vagina. You can start pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy and continue after childbirth.
Remember, doing Kegel exercises in the proper form isn’t easy. It can be challenging to isolate the pelvic floor muscles. However, when done correctly, they’re very effective! Seek help from your OB, nurse, or physical therapist to be sure you’re doing them correctly.
Here are a few more little “tricks” help you to strengthen your pelvic floor after birth:
- Do not head to the restroom “just in case,” as this can train your bladder with the need to empty it more often.
- Avoid lifting heavy loads.
- Squeeze and hold the pelvic muscles before you cough, laugh, or sneeze.
- Avoid doing bouncing exercises.
- Empty the bladder fully when you head to the toilet.
Losing bladder control after childbirth can happen due to a combination of hormones relaxing the muscles and ligaments and the baby’s and uterus’s pressure. Lucky for you, there is nothing a bit of pelvic floor muscle training and exercising cannot fix. All you need is some due diligence and consistency!