How to do the pelvic floor exercise
Pelvic floor exercises can be performed in any position and no-one will know you are doing them:
Your buttocks, legs and tummy should not move when doing the exercise. Do these exercises every day. Ideally start with four or five gentle squeezes, resting between each one, six to 10 times a day. Progress to quick, strong squeezes. Associating these exercises with a regular activity like brushing your teeth or changing a nappy will help you to remember to do it!
During pregnancy, the abdominal (tummy) muscles are stretched and elongated, which weakens them. In most women in the later stages of pregnancy, the muscles separate to allow the baby to grow, creating a gap. This is normal. When the baby is born, this gap may still be present. It is important not to put too much stress on the abdominal muscles immediately after giving birth.
Deep abdominal exercise
This exercise is very important to help support and close the gap between your abdominal muscles:
Once you can do the deep abdominal exercise, move onto this:
Lie on your back with knees bent.
As you breathe out, draw in your tummy as before and tilt your pelvis backwards by gently squeezing your buttocks.
You should feel your back flatten onto the floor or mattress.
Hold this position for five seconds, and then relax.
Repeat this four to five times (and again increase the hold to a 10 second hold, repeating 10 times).
You may also like to try this lying on your side.
When can I start exercising again?
Gentle exercise, gradually increased, will help to tone your body. When you feel more energetic walking is ideal. Begin by walking for 10 minutes a day and increase the time and distance as you feel able.
After your six week check, other exercises such as swimming or an exercise class can be resumed. It is important to start slowly and gradually increase the amount that you do.
This article is one of many postnatal articles which Barts Health NHS Trust generously allowed Essential Parent to use. These articles come from the excellent Barts “Guide to Postnatal Care at Home”.