14 million people in the UK suffer from a bladder problem of one kind or another. That’s more than those with asthma, diabetes and epilepsy combined. 4/5 people don’t talk to their doctor about it either.
The bladder relies on a rich network of muscles, nerves and fibres called the pelvic floor. It acts as a sling, providing much-needed support. Pelvic floor exercises are a way of taking care of your pelvic floor. Leaks following pregnancy are super common but they shouldn’t be seen as something that is just normal and everyday. They need to be humanised and talked about but not normalised- otherwise too many women go through their day experiencing leaks and feeling judged and disempowered.
That’s why we’ve partnered with our friends at Jude, who are working to bring bladder care into the mainstream. Read on to hear their top-tips for managing your pelvic floor post-baby.
1. Find your pelvic floor
Too many of us don’t know where our pelvic floor is. There’s a simple way of finding the muscles. When you’re peeing, stop the flow of urine by tightening the muscles. This is a useful way of finding your muscles. Don’t do this practice regularly as it can confuse the bladder when you’re peeing.
Outside of the toilet it’s useful to contract these muscles and relax them whilst you’re doing chores around the house, picking up a toddler or even watching an episode of Bluey on the TV. The more you do this the more aware you’ll be of your pelvic floor and where it sits.
2. Choose your position and get squeezing
To start with, squeeze the muscles for 3-5 seconds, relax for 3-5 seconds, then repeat 15 times. This counts as one set of repetitions. Over time increase to squeezing for 10 seconds and relaxing for 5-10 seconds. Gradually build up to three sets a day as part of your daily routine.
3. Attach your pelvic floor care onto an existing routine
One of the most difficult things when you’re a busy parent is trying to adopt a new habit. There are certain things like brushing your teeth or emptying the dishwasher that you do all the time without needing to plan or think about it.
Ideally you want to do the same when it comes to your pelvic floor exercises. So try and attach your exercises to something you already do. This might be doing them whenever you're boiling the kettle, or whenever you’re hanging up washing or even doing them to a favourite song on the radio (if you like to dance around the kitchen on a regular basis then do them whilst you’re dancing). Another idea is to do them whenever you’re rocking your baby to sleep or whilst they’re eating their dinner if they’re a little older. Once you get used to doing them alongside an existing habit you will find integrating them into your everyday life much easier. Put a post it note next to your bathroom mirror so you can do them whilst you’re cleansing your face.
4. Consult a pelvic floor physio
It may be that you need a specialist. All too often mums tend to put their needs at the bottom of the pile, and it’s important that you prioritise yourself. If you’re experiencing leaks on a regular basis then it can feel overwhelming and quite isolating.
Going to speak to an expert and getting a consultation can really help. Reach out to your own network for recommendations as good physios are like gold dust and you want one that you feel truly comfortable with. Also make sure that you understand what the first consultation is going to be like. Many women can feel intimidated and under-prepared and a good physio will be happy to talk to you ahead of time. It may involve an internal exam of some kind so it’s helpful to know this in advance so you feel prepared but can also pick a physio that you know you’ll feel comfortable with.
5. Choose exercise that also supports your pelvic floor muscles
There are also creative ways you can create a strong pelvic floor. Try Belly-dancing, Hula- hooping, Pilates. All three of these are exercises that help your pelvic floor get stronger. Pilates in particular is useful for postpartum women and there are often specific post-pregnancy classes that will mean you can also meet other mums too!
Bladder leaks are not something that you need to worry needlessly about. Too many women worry without taking any action. If you can start tackling your pelvic floor health then you should start to see an improvement and will feel more in control of your bladder and your life.
Check out https://www.wearejude.com for more information on bladder weakness, tips from our experts and products that can support you along the way. Their best-selling supplements can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with powerful, natural pumpkin seed extract and soy germ extract (which relaxes overactive bladder muscles). They are clinically proven to help reduce leaks by 79%. Use code Mamamade10 to get 10% off Jude products.
Thank you so much to team Jude for their helpful advice and top-tips for managing bladder care post-baby.
Love, Sophie & Team Mamamade x