Giving birth and bladder weakness
During labour all the muscles and ligaments of the lower abdomen are stretched, particularly in the pelvic floor. If labour is long and difficult, or if the baby is large or its presentation was not ideal, there is a greater risk of urinary incontinence after childbirth.
Young mothers frequently find it hard to tighten their pelvic floor and regain control of their sphincters for two months after giving birth.
Here are some tips for improving muscle tone in your pelvic floor after childbirth:
Pelvic floor exercises
- Do this simple exercise several times a day:
- squeeze your pelvic floor as hard as you can for 5 seconds, as if you were trying not to pass wind;
- relax and rest for 10 seconds;
- squeeze again.
Gradually increase the number of squeezes, up to about a hundred times a day. Do the exercise in all sorts of positions: lying down, sitting, standing and squatting. Don’t do conventional “ab” exercises: the best exercise to get your flat tummy back is to pull it in as much as you can for a few seconds, several times a day, every day.
Gradually build up your physical activity
The best sports are low-impact activities such as walking or swimming; avoid jumping.
Make sure you stand up straight and try not to curve your lower back
This will relieve any back pain and at the same time tone your abdominals.
Make sure you support your back. Stretch your head away from your shoulders and imagine there’s a thread pulling it upwards.
Stick to a varied, balanced diet
so that you gradually get back to your ideal weight.
Look after your sex life
Don’t be shy about talking to your doctor if you experience any vaginal dryness or discomfort when you have sex. Sex is also a great way to tone your pelvic floor!
Antenatal sessions given by midwives will help you get your muscle tone back and learn to control your pelvic floor.
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