After having children, some women notice that they start peeing a little every time they sneeze, jump or run. This is so common after pregnancy as pelvic floor muscles can weaken. In fact, studies indicate that 40% of women suffer from urinary incontinence after childbirth. But what causes it? And how can you stop it from taking over your life? This article will offer full-proof tips on how to stop leakage.
What is urinary leakage and what causes it?
The pelvic floor is a hammock of muscles that hold up the vagina, uterus, bladder, and urethra. The weight of the uterus during pregnancy and the enlargement of the vagina during childbirth causes the pelvic floor to stretch out. When it gets weakened, these organs shift out of position and even small movements can cause an involuntary loss of urine through the urethra. These leaks can occur at any time of the day and without warning- quite normal in the weeks following childbirth – especially when coughing, laughing, sneezing, or carrying a heavy object.
Begin rehabilitating your pelvic floor as soon as you can
To keep the pelvic floor firm, women who have given birth should practice pelvic floor rehabilitation. You can begin exercising alone the first week after childbirth or if you want to exercise with a midwife or physiotherapist, you can start after a month. But the ideal is to wait 3 months after having a baby to allow time for the pelvic organs to move back to their position.
Types of exercises
Your pelvic rehabilitation needs will be determined by a doctor or midwife during postnatal examinations. An episiotomy, a tear, a cesarean section, or breastfeeding may cause more pain when exercising, but they are not contraindications. The most common exercises to tighten your pelvic floor after pregnancy and childbirth are:
- Kegel exercises
Kegel exercises can help strengthen the pelvic floor of women who have problems with urine leakage. To perform Kegels, squeeze all the muscles in your pelvis as if you are trying not to go to the bathroom. Hold 5 – 10 seconds. Repeat the kegel 10 times. Do the Kegels, at least, three times a day.
Squats can help strengthen a lot of the muscles in your lower body, including the muscles of your pelvis. To execute squats, bend at the hips and knees with your back straight and feet flat. Stand up by squeezing your glutes. Complete 10 repetitions of the squats and then rest briefly. Then complete another 10 reps and take another short break.
The bridge is another low-impact exercise that can help you strengthen your pelvic floor. It will also help you develop your glute and hamstring muscles. To do it, lay on your back with your knees bent. Lift your hips up by squeezing your glutes. Do three sets of 5-10 repetitions daily.
Protect your pelvis muscles after childbirth
Some sports like tennis, jogging, dance, fitness, and horse riding – create a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor, unlike yoga, stretching, cycling, golf, or swimming. Similarly, bronchitis, which results in a chronic cough, carrying heavy boxes, or standing a lot, carrying weight can stress the pelvic muscles.It is important, therefore, to learn how to take care of your pelvic floor muscles, whether you are pregnant or not.
Exercises can be helpful if the incontinence is mild and if they are started early. But if takes a lot of commitment and dedication. If your case is too severe, the pelvic floor might have to be surgically lifted back into alignment so that when you strain, there is no leakage.