The pelvic floor consists of layers of muscles that stretch from the pubic bone (in front) to the end of the backbone (spine). During pregnancy there is more weight from the baby, placenta, increased blood volume and an enlarged uterus putting more pressure on the pelvic floor. As a result, your pelvic floor muscles are weakened and you may find that you leak urine when you cough, sneeze, and laugh. This can sometimes be embarrassing however there is no reason to be! Although not everyone talks about it; trust me it is very common! This occurrence is known as stress incontinence and it can continue after pregnancy as well. You can strengthen these muscles by doing pelvic floor exercises. Pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor which come under great strain in pregnancy and childbirth. This helps to reduce or avoid stress incontinence during and after pregnancy. All pregnant women should do pelvic floor exercises as a preventive measure.
How to do PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES:
• Find a comfortable setting where you can lay or sit down with your knees bent.
• Make a squeezing or clenching sensation and tighten your muscles as if you were trying to stop yourself from peeing or passing gas.
• Take a nice breath in as you squeeze and tighten, and then breathe out while relaxing the muscles.
• Try and hold the squeezes for as long as you can before you relax (sometimes counting to 10 helps).
• 3 sets of 8 squeezes every day is a good goal (when you first wake up, lunch time and before bed). If you sneeze or cough, practice these exercises as well.