So when should you start doing your pelvic floor exercises post birth?
Well, if you are reading this while still pregnant, start NOW! Preparation is key and can potentially help with a smoother birth plus quicker recovery.
While you are recovering in hospital, become aware of your posture, the pelvic floor muscles won’t work effectively if you are slouching, so sit up tall (imagine there is a balloon at the top of your head which is pulling you gently upwards) and relax your shoulders back and down. Even more important to be conscious of this whilst feeding as you can be in that position for an extended period of time.
When lying in bed practise your pelvic floor exercises:
You should still be able to talk and breathe whilst “holding” the pelvic floor muscles, visualise them lifting up inside you and feel your tummy tighten. Once you feel you have mastered the exercises lying down try on all fours, sitting and standing.
There are also lifestyle factors that will help improve the function of your pelvic floor; when getting out of bed don’t lift straight up into a sitting position “log roll” out of bed, the same applies when you get up off the floor; roll onto one side, come up on one knee and then stand up.
If you are picking your baby up from the floor, breathe in as preparation and then as you lift them up, breathe out which will apply a gentle brace to your core muscles as well contracting your pelvic floor muscles at the same time.
Are you drinking enough water and avoiding caffeine? Too much caffeine will not only keep your baby awake but is also an irritant to your bladder. And while we are talking toilet, it is good practice to keep your feet elevated whilst pooing (10cm is ideal), the toddler steps work perfectly for this: http://www.mothercare.com//on/demandware.store/Sites-MCENGB-Site/default/Product-Show?pid=412075. The reason of this is it creates the correct dynamics for ease of “movement”, while also taking the pressure off your pelvic floor.
And remember, leave the jumping for a few months, slide and glide is the best option in the short term!
Don’t despair if you are very post-natal, I have had ladies attend my FooFooFunClub at the age of 80 and still noticed an improvement: http://www.preandpostnatalexercise.co.uk/foofoofunclub/