Pelvic floor exercises

The pelvic floor muscles are the firm supportive muscles that stretch from your pubic bone at the front of your pelvis to the base of your spine at the back.

Your pelvic floor muscles help to hold our bladder, uterus (womb) and bowel in place, and to close your bladder outlet and back passage.

When your pelvic floor muscles are well toned they stop leakage of urine from your bladder and wind or faeces from the bowel. When you pass urine or stools the pelvic floor muscles relax and afterwards they tighten to restore control. They actively squeeze when you laugh or cough to avoid leaking.

During the first few days you may feel numb and sore and it will be difficult to exercise during this period, but keep practising.

How do I perform pelvic floor exercises?Show [+]Hide [-]

It is not always easy to find your pelvic floor muscles as exercising them doesnot show at all on the outside.

To start exercising lie down with your knees bent and feet on the bed, as you improve you can sit comfortably upright with your feet touching the floor.

Slowly tighten and pull up the muscle around your anus and vagina. This squeezes the muscle upwards and inwards. Imagine that you are trying to stop yourself from passing wind, and at the same time stopping your flow of urine mid-stream. Try to hold your muscles for five seconds, rest then repeat the exercise up to ten times. As the muscle gets stronger you can hold for longer.

You do not need to hold your breath or pull in your tummy or tighten your buttocks too much. Pelvic floor exercises should be continued often for the first six months at least five times a day after this once a day is usually enough.

What follow up is available?Show [+]Hide [-]

If you had a significant perineal trauma including a 3rd or 4th degree tear we offer an RVI joint clinic appointment with an obstetrician and physiotherapist. This is usually at six weeks after delivery.

If you require further treatment this will be discussed and arranged at this appointment. If you have problems after you are discharged from the clinic, then you should seek advice from your GP or health visitor, who can arrange referral back to hospital if necessary.

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