Hey pretty Mama, if this sounds familiar, don’t worry you are not alone! I remember after having had my first child, every time I would take a fitness class, do jumping jacks, or squat jumps I would get the feeling that I was leaking. If you are reading this, you are most likely expecting, have just given birth or you are a woman with the above symptoms.
Leaking comes from weak pelvic floor muscles. These muscles act like a hammock that cradles and supports the uterus, bladder, bowels and other pelvic organs. As your uterus grows during pregnancy these tiny muscles have to carry a much heavier load then usual causing them to sag if unfit.
If the main muscle of the pelvic floor, the pubococcygeus or PC muscle is weak chances are that your labor will be more painful, you may even need to have an episiotomy (an incision made to enlarge the vaginal opening and to prevent you from tearing). Luckily, your pelvic floor muscles can be trained and leaking can be overcome. Most fitness programs however do not address this issue, which becomes a problem sometimes later in life as you get older. Therefore it is crucial to begin training these muscles as soon as you fall pregnant by doing Kegels. Kegels amongst other important exercises are the building blocks of prenatal fitness. A strong PC muscle will help you have a more controlled delivery, less labor pain may prevent future urinary incontinence, and increase your sexual enjoyment.
Kegels are simple to do once you have the hang of it and should be done several times a day for the rest of your life. They can be done anywhere, anytime, you can even do them during sexual intercourse, no need to feel self conscious no one will know that you are doing them.
How to find your pelvic floor muscle: When urinating, pull up and squeeze the internal muscles to stop the flow of urine midstream. If you are finding that this is too hard, try doing this exercise at the beginning of urination or at the end. Once you have the hang of it, and you are expecting, stop doing them whilst urinating as it can bring on a urinary tract infection.
How to do them properly: First, visualize your pelvic floor muscles focusing on your anus. Squeeze the muscles around your anus, as if you wanted to prevent going to the bathroom. Then relax it. After a few times, focus on the muscles around your vagina, squeeze tightly then relax. Then focus on both pulling the perineum in and up holding for a 5 count before relaxing. Remember to inhale as you release, exhale as you squeeze and pull up.
A good place to start is by doing 5 Sets of 10 reps alternating between holds and pulses. Do 1 Set of 10 reps holding, but don’t hold your breath, then release. 2nd set of 10 reps doing pulses, squeezing releasing back to back, 3rd Set holding for 10 reps, 4th Set pulses again for 10 reps and last but not least 5th set 10 reps holding. That’s 50 reps.
Start off by doing these 3 times a day, think breakfast, lunch and dinner and as you get better at these add another round, making it 100 reps 3 times a day. A way to check that your PC muscle is getting stronger, is whilst love making or at the end of it. If your husband feels it, you are doing the job, if he doesn’t you will need to be patient and do more work. Good luck and if you have any questions, feel free to email me at your convenience. Be Well. Be Fit. Be Strong.