Pelvic floor muscles and urinary incontinence

Pelvic Floor Muscles Urinary Incontinence Physio ExercisesThe role of the pelvic floor muscles are:

  • To support your internal organs
  • To support your back and pelvis
  • To control your bladder and bowel function
  • It has a sexual function
  • It is involved in delivering your baby

When you are pregnant there are a number of changes that occur to your body, some of which will have a direct effect on your pelvic floor muscles. The most obvious effect is the weight of your baby pressing down on these muscles, which may result in urinary leakage especially when exercising. Having strong pelvic floor muscles will help minimise any leakage before and after your baby is born. If you do not experience urinary leakage during your pregnancy you are less likely to experience it after giving birth. A strong pelvic floor will also aid in a quicker recovery following the delivery of your baby by a natural birth. And the more familiar you are with your pelvic floor the more able you are to relax it during the delivery of your baby.

Exercising your pelvic floor should be done at least three times a day. There are two exercises that you should complete, slow contractions and quick contractions. See below for  details on how to exercise your pelvic floor muscle.

Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises

To engage your pelvic floor muscle you must imagine you are trying to stop yourself from passing wind then urine, this will give you the sensation that you are tightening from back to front around your vagina. You should feel your muscles lift up inside slightly.

Ideally you should lift and squeeze your pelvic floor and aim to hold for 10 seconds repeating 10 times. This should then be followed by 10 quick squeezes lasting for only a second each. Do not worry if this isn’t quite achievable to begin with, test yourself, and count how many seconds you can hold for and how many quick ones you can do and work to that level, each time try to build on the number of contractions.

Remember where you pelvic floor muscles are, if you can feel you are squeezing your gluts then you are not engaging your muscles correctly, you may need to visit a specialist physiotherapist.

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