Things just haven’t been the same since having my kids. I worry about sneezing. I worry about running. I worry about laughing too hard.
You know what I’m talking about.
Last week, I had my post-partum visit with my OB/GYN. She confirmed my suspicion. I have muscle damage. She called it “mild” but it doesn’t feel mild to me.
She said there is some hope with Kegel exercises. She doesn’t think I need surgery (at least not yet).
I am a mom of two wonderful boys. My husband tells me my body is perfect to him, and he trained my two-year old to tell me “mommy, you’re so beautiful.” The scars to my body are all worth it to me, and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. But I can’t stop thinking about how that part of my body will never be the same, and I want to do something about it if I can.
In case you are one of the MANY women with pelvic floor issues (which in my opinion are not discussed openly enough, hence this post!) here are some ideas to help our parts:
- First, identify and get to know the muscles we need to strengthen. The pelvis has some challenging anatomy. There are layers of muscles in the pelvis that criss-cross creating a hammock to support our organs. The ones we want to strengthen are the pubococcygeous (PC) muscles. These are the muscles you contract when you are trying to stop your flow of urine. You can put your finger in your vagina and you should feel the PC muscles tightening — that’s how you know you’re working the right muscles.
- Plan your daily exercise routine for your PC muscles. Here are some examples and you can mix and match them depending on what works best for you.
- Pumps: Contract the PC muscle for 1-2 seconds 20 times in a row. Do 3 sets, 3 times/day.
- Holds: Contract PC muscle as hard as you can and hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat this 10 times, 3 times/day.
- Progressives: Gently contract PC muscle, then slowly increase the contraction in stages until you are fully contracting it. Release it in the same step-wise fashion. Repeat this 5-10 times, 3 times/day.
- Make some triggers to remind yourself to do these exercises. Pair them with something you already do at least 3 times/day. For example, right before you eat a meal, when you’re brushing your teeth, when you’re pumping, whenever you log onto Facebook, when you’re sitting at a red light. (Note, don’t do them while urinating as this can lead to incomplete emptying and infections)
- Try doing these exercises during intercourse with your partner — it might make doing them a little more fun!
- When you are about to cough or sneeze — contract your PC muscles before you do it.
- You could consider getting some weighted kegel balls such as these. You could also talk with your doctor about finding a pelvic floor physical therapist.
Hope that helps, ladies! Of course, talk with your doctor about all of this especially if you have any pain or feel like your symptoms are not improving.
Lastly, let’s try to talk about this more, at least with each other. Most of my mom friends have these issues, and we shouldn’t be embarrassed. And let’s not forget to appreciate our amazing mommy bodies for doing what they do!