Giving birth is one of the most amazing things the human body is capable of. The after effects can be traumatic, surprising and embarrassing to say the least. It can take months or years to fully recover – some woman never actually regain their “before” body at all.
During pregnancy hormonal changes take place in the body and cause the pelvic floor to soften and become more elastic, as the weight of the uterus increases, so too does the pressure into the pelvic floor. During vaginal delivery the muscles of the pelvic floor stretch far beyond their normal range, this can very often result in leakage after delivery. Not to mention further trauma that is sometimes caused to muscle tissue and nerves by tearing or episiotomy.
One in three women* will experience some level of incontinence postpartum, sometimes even for years after giving birth. Many women experience more severe pelvic floor dysfunction and prolapse as well.
So, I ask….. ladies, when you sneeze does a little bit of wee come out?
If you answered ‘Yes’, please know that it doesn’t have to be this way!
Many forms of exercise are deemed ‘unsafe’ for those with pelvic floor dysfunction, however, Pilates can assist in strengthening weak Pelvic Floor muscles that can be the cause of this incontinence and is therefore a great tool for providing safe movement.
Heavy load and weight bearing (squatting) will exacerbate pelvic floor load and therefore risks making symptoms worse. A majority of Pilates exercises are performed supine (laying on your back) so we are often able to avoid this weight bearing position and work safely to strengthen and regain control.
As a mama myself I know that we often put ourselves at the end of the priority list – if we are even on the list at all!! Yet, how do we expect to function properly and care for our beautiful babies if we ourselves are not looked after and functioning efficiently?
If the thought of trampolining with your kids terrifies you, then there is work to be done! Let’s find some strength in that pelvic floor and have you coughing, sneezing and running without any more ‘accidents’. Don’t be the one in three women who suffers with leakage for the rest of your life.
No more excuses, let’s get working on the pelvic floor!
I’ll be following up soon with some simple exercises you can do at home to start to regain control and reconnect your pelvic floor muscles. These exercises will be suitable for women with pelvic floor weakness, however, if you are unsure of the level of your dysfunction I suggest seeing a physiotherapist or specialist who can give you more details about your condition.
Please note that incontinence can also be caused by overactive or super tight pelvic floor muscles, the exercises I will be posting are NOT suitable for women with this condition.
*Continence foundation of Australia