Pelvic Floor Disaster

31st October 2014

‘Pelvic floor disaster’

One…..bounce, two…..woohhoo, three……bounce, four………..weeee!!! Oops, oh no!! Oh gosh how embarrassing, oh no, how did that happen, eeekkk!!! This ‘wee’ was not that kind of ‘weeeee’ with excitement, it was the pee your pants kinda wee!

So I hear you ask, what’s wrong with you? Are you a mid-ninety year old women with no control – NOPE! Are you morbidly obese? – NOPE wrong again (although I do have moments where I definitely feel it)! Are you a man with prostate problems – NOPE you are all wrong!!

So let’s start from the beginning. I’m a young(ish) mum of three who thought she knew better than the health professionals. Yup a smart ass with no intention of listening to these people who evidently didn’t realise I had no time to sit and do silly exercises. I had three kids under 4 – were they crazy?!! Had they not seen my hectic schedule? Did they not realise I just collapsed into bed at the end of the day with no thought of exercise or my weakening pelvic floor?

Some years went by and the young mum had managed to survive the sleepless nights, weaning, temper tantrums and potty training – wow this sounds like something from a fairy tale….wonder if Prince Charming will ride up and save me? Emm… perhaps not when he sees me peeing my pants every time I laugh, cough or sneeze LOL!!! Life was coming together quite nicely as they say. Then the funny joke incident occurred, the laugh so much you pee yourself kind of joke, followed by the trampoline one, where you bounce up high in the air and look down in horror in case you’ve left a stream in your track! Now those warnings of ‘Don’t forget to do your pelvic floor’, and ‘you can’t underestimate the importance of doing these exercises’ wafted through my brain somewhat like the smell of pee. Ha ha, ok too far!! Enough of the pee jokes. But very seriously, the realisation of the fact that I should have listened, I should have done as I was told, was not one I was dealing with very well. Well come on who likes to admit they are wrong? Certainly not me. That’s for sure.

Let’s get technical for a minute. I’ll try not to bore you too much so no falling asleep on me now. The pelvic floor is a muscular platform at the base of the pelvis. It is a sling of muscles which pass from the pubic bones in the front to the coccyx at the back. You still with me everyone? It is made up of two halves joined in the middle to allow the urethra, vagina and anus to pass through and fans out either side to attach to the pelvic bones. Cue disgusting picture!! Its functions are to: support the pelvic floor – stop your insides falling out; maintain continence – stop you weeing your pants; to resist sudden intra-abdominal pressure – again stop you weeing your pants when you sneeze or cough or laugh; to improve sexual function – well, if you have the energy; and to maintain pelvic stability – not much other to say there really. So are you all still with me? No drooping eyelids yet? Good, as we are getting to the important stuff! The skeletal muscles of the pelvic floor contains both fast and slow twitch fibres. So basically to maintain a strong pelvic floor, both types need to be worked. So in other words slow pulsing exercises and fast pulsing ones combined.

So some simple tips to help you all strengthen that pelvic floor coming up. Remember these can be done during pregnancy, and then as soon after birth as possible. Now you mummies sitting there with a nice big grin saying ‘I had a c-section so I don’t need to do them’ (cue irritating la la lala la tune) – WRONG!! Pregnancy alone can weaken them so it’s in everyone’s best interest to do them. Pelvic floor exercises can assist in the healing process by encouraging blood flow to the area and removing waste products and strengthen the pelvic floor for baby number 2,3 and 4 (if you are crazy enough) or to stop the embarrassing trampoline incidents!!

So some simple tips:

  • Find the right muscle. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Take time to locate and engage them. Think about the shape. Imagine a figure of eight that circles your vagina and your anus.
  • Practice makes perfect. Once you have perfected engaging (finding) the muscles, sit comfortably and try to tighten them for 5 seconds and then gradually relax for 5 seconds. Do this 4 or 5 times in a row to start with. As you get better try to work it up to 10 seconds.
  • Stay focused. It’s easy to start getting other muscles involved. Focus on just the pelvic floor and try not to flex the muscles in the abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Also try not to hold your breath, breathe in a steady normal pace as you do them.
  • Make it a habit. Try to integrate them into your day to day routine. For example, when brushing your teeth, when the kettle is boiling, when you are on the phone. It will become like second nature if you do them every day.
  • Join a Bambino class. We do a number of different pelvic floor and simple exercises designed for new mummies in our Bambino class. Doing it as a group and having a giggle (without peeing your pants) can make it more fun and an easier way to learn.

Right I’m off for a cuppa – cue pelvic floor exercise, then a little bit of telly – cue pelvic floor exercise, then wash up for bed – cue pelvic floor exercise. Ha ha ha check me. Now for the end to my fairy tale – I became the Queen of Pelvic Floor exercises and ruled the trampoline world!!!

Jenny x

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