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Ever had a baby

Pelvic floor muscles take time to get back to their usual state after the birth. In fact the effects of the hormone ‘relaxin' can last up to 6 months in some women after the birth.

Some women are more at risk of pelvic floor problems during pregnancy and childbirth than others. These include women who have had:

  • multiple birthsWoman on exercise bike
  • instrumental births (using forceps or ventouse)
  • severe perineal tearing, or
  • large babies (over 4Kg).

If you have recently had a baby, it is important to reduce the strain on your pelvic floor muscles (especially in the first few months) to help them to recover.  Some easy ways to do this include:

  • easing back into exercise, and making sure your exercise program is pelvic floor safe
  • not lifting unless absolutely necessary, and
  • bracing before you lift, sneeze or cough.

It is also important to look out for common signs of a pelvic floor problem, which may include:

  • accidentally leaking urine when you exercise, laugh, cough or sneeze
  • finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel
  • accidentally losing control of your bladder or bowel
  • accidentally passing wind, or
  • a prolapse (this may be felt as a bulge in the vagina or a feeling of heaviness, discomfort, pulling, dragging or dropping).

Pelvic floor muscle exercises are important during pregnancy and childbirth. They are also important after you have a baby and you should always take special care of these muscles.

For further information visit a continence professional or contact the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.


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