You Don't Need to Suffer with Poor Pelvic Floor
Bringing a new life into the world is an incredible journey, but it can also bring changes to your body, particularly to your pelvic floor muscles. Postpartum, many women find themselves dealing with weakened pelvic floor muscles, leading to issues like incontinence and reduced core stability. But there is GOOD NEWS. You do not have to live like this (despite what the Tena Lady adverts may have you believe.)
There are numerous resources available to help you rebuild your pelvic floor strength and regain confidence in your body. Here are some of the ones I’m using myself or those I’ve discussed with my friends, family and clients over the past few weeks after a post on Instagram opened up the conversation about my own struggles as a result of my first birth – (that’s a story for another time, for another post!)
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy on the NHS
If you’re finding post-baby life a bit leaky or dashing to the loo because when you gotta go, YOU GOTTA GO - you're not alone! Many mums experience this (hello!), but there's help. Never underestimate the power of a good chat with your GP and request a referral to a Pelvic Floor Physio. It may be a bit of a wait but once you hit the top of the list they’ll be able to complete an assessment and offer personalised advice, keep tabs on your recovery progress, and address any concerns you have.
You know those ones you maybe didn’t do as much of as you should have done and are now being taught by your physio. Once you get the hang of them, they are simple to do, and they can make a world of difference. They'll help you regain control and reduce those unexpected leaks. If you want to give this crack first before seeing or while waiting to see a professional, check out all manner of demonstrations on YouTube.
Yoga and Pilates for Postpartum
Yoga and Pilates are fantastic choices. Not only do they help rebuild your core and pelvic floor strength, but they also give you a moment of zen in the midst of baby chaos. Picture yourself stretching and breathing – pure bliss, right? Chat with your instructor beforehand to ensure the classes are suitable for you and make them aware of any issues you have so this can be taken into account. A lot of instructors offer Mum & Baby classes for when you’re little one is little enough to not crawl off. Once they are a bit bigger you may like to see if someone else can enjoy some time with your baby/toddler/child while you enjoy some time for yourself and help your pelvic floor recovery in the process! We love Holly Hood Yoga in Alton, Yoga with Rosanna in Ropley, You Time Yoga with Hayley in Winchester and the Pilates Foundry Studio in South Warnborough.
Pelvic Floor Exercise Apps
We're living in the digital age, so why not use apps to help your pelvic floor? There are apps out there that guide you through pelvic floor exercises. It's like having a personal trainer in your pocket. They remind you when to exercise and track your progress. Check out Squeezy in the app store.
If you're a tech-savvy mum, consider biofeedback devices like the Elvie Trainer (nudge to myself, to use mine daily!). They provide real-time feedback on your pelvic floor exercises using an egg-shaped device that you insert into your vagina, connecting to an app on your phone to monitor the effectiveness of your workout and ensure the correct exercise technique. Might seem a bit weird at first, I know – but so many people I know swear by them!
The Mummy MOT is a tailored postnatal care package designed for women who've recently given birth or even years postpartum. It addresses common yet often overlooked issues like weakened abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. As up to half of women may still experience these challenges at eight weeks post-birth, the Mummy MOT steps in to offer a comprehensive 1-hour assessment involving a full postural screen, pelvic floor muscle assessment, abdominal muscle exam for any separation, and screening for potential dysfunctions in bladder, bowel, or sexual areas. Following your assessment you receive personalised education and advice on safe postnatal activities, ensuring you can bend, squat, and lift comfortably and a bespoke rehabilitation programme, crafted with your unique goals and lifestyle in mind. Check out Emily the Physio in Basingstoke and Liz Knowles in Winchester who both offer the Mummy MOT programme.
"Why Mums Don't Jump" Podcast
Who doesn't love a good podcast? Especially when it's all about postpartum recovery. "Why Mums Don't Jump" is your go-to source for expert advice and personal stories - a goldmine of practical tips and insights from mums who've been there. Created by Helen Ledwick, it unravels the mysteries of pelvic floor problems following her own pelvic organ prolapse after giving birth in 2015. Fuelled by a glaring lack of information and support for women like her she decided to break the silence and launched @whymumsdontjump on Instagram in 2018. She soon discovered a multitude of women silently grappling with pelvic floor dysfunction, echoing her confusion and anxiety and launched the Why Mums Don't Jump podcast to dismantle the stigma surrounding conditions like prolapse, incontinence, and pelvic pain.
I know from personal experience and speaking to others (thank you so much to those who've had the conversations with me recently – you know who you are!) that embarking on your postpartum pelvic floor recovery journey can be emotional and frustrating but also hugely empowering and as one would hope - transformative! As with all these things, consistency and patience are key to achieving lasting results. Like I say – don’t let the adverts convince you it’s something you have to ‘live with’. Crack on and seek the right support to rebuild your strength, and regain your confidence (to cough).