Pelvic Floor Exercises for Women: Learn to do it right!

How to start exercising after giving birth?


Pelvic floor exercises for women after giving birth are the foundation for being able to start working out and shaping your body. Pregnancy impacts pelvic floor muscles, as they become more flexible and stretchy because they are preparing for a childbirth. Of Mother Holding Newborn Babycourse there are many different outcomes what concerns pelvic floor, as every childbirth is unique and the condition of your pelvic floor cannot be foreseen until you are already holding your baby in your arms.

Some women are lucky and have very flexible muscles, so the impact is minimal, the muscles return to the initial state very soon. However many of us had some sort of injury of the perineum or other tissues and the pelvic floor has been impacted more, sometimes even much more. I cannot go past the c-section either, I had one when delivering my twin girls. The condition of your body after c-section is very different, it’s like having a major abdominal operation, as all the lower abdominal muscles were cut through and have to heal for a longer time.

 


Why is the post-natal pelvic floor workout good for you?

During pregnancy there are a lot of hormonal changes affecting the pregnant woman and the weight of your uterus is rising rapidly. The pelvic floor muscles are more flexible and sometimes they even become weak and slack. The result of that can be quite inconvenient: urinal incontinence. Your muscles just can’t hold your urine back and drops of it can easily drip out, especially by some physical effort such as coughing, sneezing and even laughing.

Baby at UltrasoundWith proper pelvic floor exercises you will start to tighten up your core muscles. So your pelvis and internal organs will return in the right position and stay there. And your back and backbone will be more relaxed and painless.

Last but not least; there is another benefit of pelvic floor workout. As you tighten your muscles you also gain more feeling about them. It is scientifically proven that it can improve your sexual experience. But this is whole other subject…

 

 


Learn to do it right!

As by all kinds of workout it is essential to learn to perform the exercise properly. Only that way you can prevent injuries, pain and achieve desired effects. And because muscles of the pelvic floor are small and hidden, it is even harder to recognize and learn the right way to squeeze them. 🙂

There are several ways to learn, how to do pelvic floor muscle exercise. However, note that these instructions should only be used during learning process and only once a week! If you do it more often than that you could damage your bladder’s functionality (it could stop emptying completely).

OPTION #1

When you’re sitting on the toilet, try to stop the urine stream at the end of urination by squeezing the pelvic floor. Do this only once a week just to test the strength of the muscles and to get the right feeling.

OPTION #2

Sit on the chair, your knees and feet slightly wider than your hips, feet flat on the floor. Imagine to try to stop the intestinal gas 😉 . I know it sounds a bit silly, but that’s life! You should squeeze the perineum muscles and try to pull them up, towards your bellybutton. Squeeze as much as you can for a few seconds (if you feel any pain, you should loose the tension a bit, but don’t give in!).

It is important not to squeeze your thighs, buttocks and tummy, as the effect will not be right.


When to start exercising pelvic floor muscles?

Most experts concur that every woman can start exercising pelvic floor muscles the next day after delivering her baby. It depends, tough, on her medical state. Generally the medical staff (gynecologist, midwife, physiotherapist etc.) at the hospital, at which you delivered your baby, give you instructions about early workout and teach you how to preform the exercise.

So, the point is, sooner the better. If you have exercised your pelvic floor during your pregnancy, you have more chance for smother delivery. You have more control over the muscles, not only that you are able to squeeze them, but you are also able to relax them whenever you want.


How do I do it?

I first came across the importance of pelvic floor muscles when I was an active cMe Climbinglimber and a bit later when I started to practice yoga. At that time I became more conscious of my body and I learned to listen to it more closely. I discovered small muscles (and a bit bigger muscle pain in them) I have never felt before…

So when I found out I was pregnant for the first time I only continued with my workout, which included this kind of exercise regularly.

 

During the delivery of my oldest daughter T. in 2011, I was able to relax completely (no painkillers and no anesthetics) and the midwife (actually it was HE) was able to preserve my perineum intact. I am sure I have to thank my skills to control the right muscles for that.

After that I started to use these exercises right next day as I was advised in the hospital, and then carried on with it when I got home. I Family Taking a Walkhave done it while breastfeeding (it is also said that uterus recovers faster that way), while relaxing on the couch and most of the time while taking a walk.

My workout plan was like this:

  • 5 quick squeezes (1 second each), count to 5 to relax, repeat 2 times at the beginning, every day add one more repetition until it reaches 10 – while breastfeeding, watching TV, reading
  • long squeeze (5 – 10 seconds), pause (the same length), 5 – 10 repetitions, every day add one second and one repetition until it reaches 10 – while watching TV, reading, taking a walk (when walking I actually counted my steps not seconds) .

I do it all the time now! 😉

 

REMEMBER: It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, woman or man, pelvic floor muscle exercises are always good for you!

If you have any questions, comments or personal experience, please, feel free to share them with us below. 🙂

18 Comments

  1. Anthony little

    This is very interesting topic especially for women who just have babiy. Pelvic exercise seems to help. You have provide some very important information to help women during pregnancy. Best on your own experience I feel that you done a very good job. Thanks for you valuable tips ..

    Reply
    1. Spela (Post author)

      Anthony!

      Thanks for your comment and compliment. 🙂
      It is nice to see that even a man read my article! You would be surprised what good can these exercises do to you too!
      My husband had a backbone operations and these exercises were essential for him to get back in shape. Pelvic floor muscles are the foundation of strong body core by women and men.

      Take care!
      Špela

      Reply
  2. Anthony little

    You have done a great job on your article about pelvic exercises for women, I feel that your article will help women during and after her pregnancy.. This very new and I haven’t heard much about this topic until reading to your blog. I know women will enjoy reading something fresh and new that you provide with your blog..Best wishes on creating some valuable information .

    Reply
    1. Spela (Post author)

      Thanks again 🙂

      Reply
  3. Kristina

    Thank you for your article. I learned quite a lot.
    I wish I would have had this information before I had
    my children. I am going to start some exercises. Never
    too late right?
    Kristina

    Reply
    1. Spela (Post author)

      Hi, Kristina!

      You’re totally right, it is never too late! 🙂
      Pelvic floor exercises will do you good no matter of your age.

      Take care!
      Špela

      Reply
  4. Therese Roth

    Thanks very much for this information!

    I have never been a mother, but I can still relate to it.

    At 54, it’s still important to be flexible in that part of the body, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it helped prevent internal body cramps during a nervous period of time…

    Very educational material….

    Greetings
    Therese

    Reply
    1. Spela (Post author)

      Hi, Therese!
      Thanks for your comment.
      You got it all right, this kind of exercise is good for you no matter how old you are! I know it can help every woman in her more mature age. As you probably heard, the urinary incontinence can be quite a problem for women over 55.

      Take care and best wishes to you!

      Reply
  5. Greg

    The mother of my two children had to deliver both via C-Section. You are right, it is major abdominal surgery. It really to her a while to get back to just sub-normal living. This was more than 15 years ago. I wish I knew about these type exercises that she could have done. I’m sure that her recovery would have been a little quicker.

    The information that you have given is very important to recovery after childbirth.

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Spela (Post author)

      Hi, Greg!

      I too had a c-section when I delivered my twins, so I have both kind of experience. As it really is a big procedure, I’m sure that pelvic floor exercises helped in a way, that I didn’t put too much pressure to the damaged belly muscles, but used other more solid muscles.

      Thanks for dropping by and regards to your family!
      Špela

      Reply
  6. Tracy

    Hi Spela,

    I had both of my children naturally but with complications and the importance of the pelvic floor exercises was drilled into me from day one of each birth. They also helped with bladder control and the best part is the you can do them anytime even while reading a blog LOL. Every mum/women should know how these exercises can benefit them.

    Cheers
    Tracy

    Reply
    1. Spela (Post author)

      Hi, Tracy!
      You are right, these exercises can help every woman, especially ones that are having some sort of difficulties after giving birth.
      Thank you for sharing your experience and best wishes to you!

      Špela

      Reply
  7. Emma

    This is great information! I had my third baby last year and have noticed some changes in my pelvic floor muscles. I will have to start doing this.

    Reply
    1. Spela (Post author)

      Hi, Emma!
      I’m very glad you found my post interesting and that I had a chance to help you out a bit. Thanks for taking your time to read it and thanks for your comment, too!

      All the best to you!
      Špela

      Reply
  8. Hillary

    THis is awesome information. After having my second child i noticed it was much harder to get aback in shape and i definitely neglected the pelvic floor stuff. Although I practice yoga, so my guess is the pelvic floor is worked in the poses!!!

    Reply
    1. Spela (Post author)

      Hi, Hillary!
      Yes, it is true, yoga is (or should be) also focused on pelvic floor. Although it is essential you do your job squeezing the right muscles, otherwise there will be no effect.
      If you are taking yoga class, you should maybe consult with your trainer. Mine was very good and taught us about importance of pelvic floor workout and how to do it in the beginning of every lesson. Actually you can incorporate pelvic floor muscles exercises into every yoga pose that you do (start with the easiest ones of course…).
      But if you are doing yoga at home, I hope you’ve got some insight into this topic with my post. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask them! I’ll be glad to help.

      Take care and all the best to you and your family!
      Špela

      Reply
  9. chris

    Hello Spela,

    My wife is pregnant at the moment and is due in august so this was interesting to read and she read it too. So do always do them or is there a time to stop?

    Cheers
    Chris

    Reply
    1. Spela (Post author)

      Hi, Chris!
      I’m very happy that you and your wife found new and useful info on my site and in this article.
      If your wife is a healthy pregnant lady I recommend her to do this exercises all the way to the end of the pregnancy.I did it myself, so this is coming out of my own experience, and I had a risk pregnancy with twins. She just has to listen to her body and she’ll know immediately if and when she has to stop. But it does not hurt if she takes a brake every now and then for one day.
      If she has more questions, I’m right here, or you can mail me to spela@fitmommy-satisfiedbaby.com . I’ll be glad to answer as soon as possible.

      I wish you and your wife all the best on your family journey. Congratulations on the new family member and welcome to the little one!

      Špela

      I wish you and your wife

      Reply

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