Factors such as pregnancy, childbirth, aging, being overweight, and abdominal surgery such as cesarean section, often result in the weakening of the pelvic muscles.
So you are a new mom now. After the pregnancy and birth, you might find yourself not being able to control urinary as good as before. You might even have some of the following problems:
- Leak a few drops of urine while sneezing, laughing or coughing
- Have a strong, sudden urge to urinate just before losing a large amount of urine (urinary incontinence)
- Leak stool (fecal incontinence)
For me, I had the 1st and 2nd issues right after giving the birth. I even got an bladder infection 3 days after the birth.
My OB suggested me to do Kegel exercises to improve the urinary issues like these. However at the first two month after giving birth, I couldn’t even tighten those pelvic floor muscles. I know how to tighten some muscles in that area, but I don’t know if I am doing it right. Therefore my OB referred me to a pelvic floor physio to help me find the pelvic floor muscles.
I’ve seen a pelvic floor physio twice now to get post-natal pelvic floor retraining. Below are some key points from her.
How to do Kegel Exercises
- Find the right pelvic floor muscles. To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream. If you succeed, you’ve got the right muscles.
- Practice your pelvic floor muscles . Once you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles, empty your bladder and lie on your back. You can put a rolled hand towel under your low back. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds. Try it four or five times in a row.
- Maintain your focus. For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks.
- Keep breathing. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises. If possible, tighten the pelvic floor muscles while breathing out.
- Repeat 3 times a day. Like any other muscles in our body, to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, you need to practice them regularly. To expect results — such as less frequent urine leakage — within about a few months, aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day. For continued benefits, make Kegel exercises a permanent part of your daily routine.