The Rose Diaries are always about sharing positive experiences but while Mums may laugh about the effects of pregnancy on their bodies but the reality of having a weak pelvic floor is no joke. Some women sail through pregnancy without a hint of incontinence, while others spend nine months crossing their fingers that simple activities like laughing or sneezing don’t cause them to leak.
What is the Pelvic Floor, and how does it Weaken?
Your pelvic floor is made of muscles stretching from your pubic bone to your tailbone. It supports your bladder, bowel, uterus, and vagina, keeping them where they are supposed to be, cradling them like a hammock.
You are at risk of suffering from a weakened pelvic floor if you have had:
- a baby weighing 9lbs or above;
- multiple births;
- lengthy second stage (pushing) of labour of more than an hour;
- perineal tearing during labour;
- an assisted birth (ventouse or forceps);
- Pregnant women over the age of 35, and very overweight women, are also at a higher risk, as are those for whom incontinence runs in the family.
Why is it Bad?
Apart from causing lack of bladder and bowel control leading to uncomfortable and embarrassing moments, weakened pelvic floors are a contributing factor in vaginal prolapse – a condition where the organs in the pelvis slip out of place and push against the exterior walls of the vagina, causing these vaginal walls to collapse and, in some cases, protrude out of the vaginal entrance.
Weakened pelvic floor muscles can also cause decreased sexual sensitivity and pleasure and orgasms so when you do eventually find the time and energy to have sex, you may find that you enjoy it less than you should be, which is never ideal!
How to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
We always talk about the positive effects of pregnancy and birth so the good news is that there are easy, fun exercises to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Next time you go to the toilet stop your urine mid flow. The muscles you use to do this are your pubococcygeus muscles and squeezing them like this 10-15 times, holding each time for a count of five, is a very effective way to help prevent pregnancy related incontinence. Another way to do this is to use a Kegel exerciser to help you focus on the right muscles.
It might be surprising to learn that Pelvic Floor Exercising products are becoming increasing popular due to technological advances and a social acceptance/un-tabooing of woman hood. If you are thinking about buying a Pelvic Floor Exerciser, it is important to do your research as there are a lot on the market and you need to find a product that suits you. There is a huge amount of information on the internet to confuse and baffle you so it is worthwhile speaking to a company such as White Pharmacy. Rather than just trying to sell you something, they care about you and your health and what to help you choose the right solution for you.
White Pharmacy are now running a competition to win an Elvie. The retail price is £149, so it’s a great competition. Details of how to enter are here.
Jumping on a trampoline has never quite been the same after my children (!!) so it is a good idea to start taking your pelvic floor exercises more seriously to minimise the risk of any related issues. In fact, it is something you will benefit from for the rest of your life as these muscles naturally weaken as we age.