Having a baby is one of the most magic moments a woman can experience in her life. After birth women experience a few unpleasant changes to her body like soreness and incontinence. These changes are in most cases reversible.
Recent studies revealed that by combining Perineal Massages and Kegel exercises – pelvic floor exercises – risks of urinary incontinence are reduced considerably.
To perform Kegel or Pelvic floor exercises first locate your urinary sphincter (muscle that controls urine flow). To do that sit on the toilet with knees as far apart as possible. Start and stop the flow of urine. The muscle you use to stop the flow is the one you will be working on in the exercises. (Note: Stopping urine flow is not part of the exercise routine)
Now that you identified the muscle tighten it and hold it for 4 seconds and then relax it for another 4 seconds, this is one Kegel. Do 10 to 15 Kegels, 2 to 3 times each day. Kegel exercises can be performed during and after pregnancy.
Recently another technique that is proving to be quite effective to prevent incontinence during and after childbirth is Perineal massage, this technique is used to stretch the tissues around the vaginal opening weeks before delivery.
To perform Perineal Massages first wash your hands and apply lubricant to the area (vagina). Then place your thumbs about 1 to 1 1/2 inches inside your vagina. Pressing downward, gently stretch until you feel a slight burning or tingling sensation. Hold the pressure for about two minutes or until the tissue begins to feel numb. Repeat this towards the right side of the vagina for two more minutes and then to the left. Perform this technique daily starting at 34 weeks of pregnancy.
We would love to hear your feedback on these techniques and how effective they are to each one of you. So please share your results via our comments section.
Those pelvic floor exercises are so important, especially the Kegel exercise. Be sure to not only squeeze the muscles as if to stop the flow of urine or the passing of gas, but it is a must that you elevate your pelvic floor muscles up into your pelvic outlet as if there is a string attached from your belly button down to your pelvic floor and you are attempting to pull it up into your pelvic outlet. This effort in combination with neutral spine posture and learning exercises to help strengthen the other muscles of your abdomen and pelvis that assist your pelvic floor muscles to a stronger contraction and you are on your road to recovery! Guidance from your local women's health physical therapist and/or looking for physical therapist guided programs on line from those of us that have been there, is a great first step - Tasha Mulligan MPT, ATC, CSCS