Pelvic floor exercises

Advice on pelvic floor exercises to try during pregnancy, plus the opportunity to purchase a range of pelvic floor exercisers.
Pelvic tilt exercises.
  • Stand with your shoulders and bottom against a wall.
  • Keep your knees soft
  • Pull your belly button towards your spine, so that your back flattens against the wall.
  • Hold for four seconds and release.
  • Repeat up to ten times.
Pelvic floor exercises

These help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, which come under great strain, in pregnancy and childbirth. The pelvic floor consists of layers of muscles which stretch like a supportive hammock from the pubic bone (in front) to the end of the backbone. If your pelvic floor muscles are weak, you may find that you leak urine when you cough or sneeze. This is quite common and you needn't feel embarrassed.

However, you can strengthen the muscles by doing the following exercise:
  • close up your back passage as if trying to prevent a bowel movement
  • at the same time, draw in your vagina as if you are gripping a tampon, and your urethra as if to stop the flow of urine
  • do this exercise quickly, tightening and releasing the muscles immediately
  • then do the exercise slowly holding the contractions for as long as you can (not more than ten seconds) before you relax
  • repeat both exercises ten times, four to six times a day

Chat or Ask a Question:

If you have a question about this article or something else, visit our friendly forums & ask the AskBaby community.

Chat about pelvic floor exercises with our friendly community...

Your Comments:

We'd love to hear your comments on this article...

Login to add your comment:

Email: Password:
Not yet a member? Join thousands of other parents and parents-to-be... Sign Up Now!
Forgot your
Password?

can i do pelvic floor exercises while i'm pregnant?
by RUHE 7th Jul 2008, 9:11am
Illustrative pictures of the suggested exercises could help the readers more
by swarasya 12th Jun 2008, 8:43am
I sometimes feel like the little boy in the story of The Empererors New Clothes. You know the one where everybody believes the Emperor is wearing a beautiful suit of clothes because everyone says he is? One little boy saw things as there were and shouted "The Emperor is naked!" Of course he was told not to be so stupid; after all couldn't he see what everyone else could see? After all if so many people were in agreement they must be right, mustn't they?

Why does nobody question the piece of folklore that says squeeze and hold your pelvic floor muscles against nothing and youll strengthen your pelvic floor?

The simple fact is that, for the vast majority of women, pelvic floor exercises performed, according to the conventional wisdom, do not work for two reasons:

You MUST isolate the correct muscle for success with pelvic floor exercises (an estimated 40% of women do not even use the correct muscle!)

You MUST work the muscle against resistance.

Its pure logic when you think about it. If you had an injury to your arm and needed to rehabilitate the muscle in your arm you would not succeed in doing that by merely flexing your arm up and down, you would work the muscle against resistance.

A muscle will gain in strength according to the demand placed on it. If you place no demand on the muscle you are trying to rehabilitate you will get very little return on your efforts.

I can say, with confidence, that encouraging women to perform pelvic floor exercises as they are normally taught is likely to frustrate them and not give them the results they desire. Over the past couple of years Ive spoken to probably well over 1,000 women and spoken to many womens groups, given talks at various health shows on this issue and in all that time Ive met only one woman who has managed to stop stress incontinence by performing pelvic floor exercises as they are normally taught.

There is something wrong with this picture. Now theres no point in blaming your medical professionals for not giving you this information. Although it must be said that there is no excuse for any of them who choose to remain ignorant of the fact once they do have it! The fact is they are not taught at medical school about the need for resistance for success with pelvic floor exercises. The knowledge of how effective pelvic floor exercise could eliminate the need for most of the surgeries carried out today for correcting stress incontinence and prolapse has been lost over the past few decades in a morass of ignorance and mis-information. Too many people blithely accept the conventional wisdom on this subject and dont see that it is merely ensuring a plentiful supply of future customers for the vast incontinence and prolapse industries.

Women deserve to know the truth about effective pelvic floor exercise. What is the truth? As Ive already said there are two components of effective pelvic floor exercise, isolating the correct muscle and working the muscle against resistance. It really is that simple.

Dr Kegel was an American gynaecologist and one-time Health Commissioner of Chicago. He was concerned as far back as the 1940s about the amounts of pelvic surgery being carried out on women for no other reason than their pelvic floor muscles were too weak to do their job properly.

He started working with women at his clinic in Los Angeles with resistance exercise, isolating the pelvic floor muscle and working the muscle against resistance. This method, in stark contrast to the squeeze against nothing advice were given today was so successful that in 1950 he announced that no more routine surgery for stress incontinence would be performed at his hospital.

He had great success with women who were suffering from prolapse and in one paper indicated that through resistance exercise it was possible to reverse a prolapse by as much as 5 to 7 cm!

After some time he also had many women returning to tell him how their sex lives had greatly improved as a result of their exercise regime. He then spent many years investigating the link between the strength of the pelvic floor muscle and its effect on normal sexual functioning. Quite brave for someone in 1950s America!

In 1952 he was quoted as saying "Observations in [more than 3,000 women,] both parous and nulliparous..., ranging in age from 16 to 74 years, have led to the conclusion that sexual feeling within the vagina is closely related to muscle tone, and can be improved through muscle education and resistive exercise." He also reported that 78 of 123 women complaining explicitly of sexual deficits had achieved orgasm following the training.

I suffered with a slight problem of stress incontinence after the birth of my 2nd child for 17 years. I know firsthand what a waste of time and effort squeezing against nothing really is. I was very skeptical about the difference that exercising against resistance would make until I tried it. My stress incontinence was gone within three weeks! That was five years ago and Ive never had a problem since. I have also met many other women since who have had similar results.

For more information on this subject see www.kegelmastereurope.com or to read more about my own story go to http://www.kegelmastereurope.com/message.htm. I hope this has been helpful to you.

Abigail ODonovan
by Abigail 2nd Jul 2007, 5:00pm

Community

Popular