If you have had a straightforward delivery and you feel up to it you can start doing pelvic floor exercises also known as Kegel exercises, within the first 24 hours. This will go a long way in helping to restore the strength in your pelvic floor which has been weakened by the pregnancy, preventing lower back pain, urinary incontinence and building a stronger core. The pelvic floor supports the bladder, uterus and bowel.
Kegel exercises can be done anywhere e.g. lying down, sitting, standing or driving.
To start with breath in relax your stomach and fill your lungs with air, then breath out whilst sucking your spine into your abs. Do this about 5 times.
Then imagine you are trying to stop yourself from peeing squeeze/lift and then release. Do not do this with a full bladder as you will weaken the muscles or whilst actually peeing as you run the risk of infection. Repeat again but this time try and differentiate between the front (urethra) and the back (anus) muscles and whilst squeezing/lifting, hold for a few seconds before releasing.
Once you’ve been able to differentiate from the front and back muscles, you may then be able to squeeze/lift the muscles surrounding the middle (vagina).
Now it’s time to start your kegels.
Try 10 quick squeezes/lifts, contracting and releasing the muscle quickly. Do 2 sets, with a rest in between sets.
Then try 10 slow squeezes/lifts, hold for 5 seconds then release the muscle. Do 2 sets, with a rest in between sets. Build up to holding for 10 seconds.
Try to exercise your pelvic floor muscles as many times as possible in a day.
Things to remember:
Try and isolate the pelvic floor muscles, don’t contract your abdomen, bottom or your inner thigh muscles.
Don’t hold your breath, breathe normally.
When you release the muscle don’t push down, just let go.
As you contract your pelvic floor muscles also pull your abs into your spine to work your abdominals.