Dr Rahul Sen | Specialist care for birth and beyond | Sydney, Australia

Rooms : Edgecliff 02 9363 9474
Macquarie Street 02 9221 2600

Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises

The pelvic floor is made up of a sling of muscles and connective tissue. They stretch like a hammock from the pubic bone at the front to the tailbone at the back. The three openings (urethra, vagina and rectum) pass through the pelvic floor muscles. Strong pelvic floor muscles prevent leaking of urine, wind and faeces. They also play a part in sexual function and stability of the spine.

One in three women who have had a baby will experience some leakage of urine after the birth.  This may be prevented by strengthening the pelvic floor both before and during pregnancy, and after your baby is born.  By practising strengthening exercises regularly you can help ensure these muscles stay strong.  All women should continue doing pelvic floor strengthening exercises daily in order to prevent pelvic floor weakness in later life.

RAH-Drawings-PelvicFloor1To activate and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, position yourself by either sitting up tall or lying on your side. You should feel comfortable in whichever position you choose, with your back in a “neutral” curve and your tummy, buttocks and thighs fully relaxed. Gently draw your pelvic floor muscles up in a “squeeze and lift” action by imagining you are stopping the flow of urine. At the same time continue to breathe easily. This will close off and draw up the muscles around your front passage, vagina and back passage.

Aim to hold this contraction for up 5-10 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds. Make sure you are not squeezing your buttocks or bearing down or straining in any way. Repeat this action up to 10 times. You can further progress to performing 10 short, fast, and strong contractions

RAH-Drawings-PelvicFloor1Performing this set of exercises at least four to five times daily will help you to maintain good bladder control, or help improve your control of your bladder if you find urgency or frequency is a problem. It is a good idea to “brace” with these muscles before you lift, move, cough, laugh or sneeze.

If you find you cannot activate these muscles, are holding your breathe or seem to be straining, stop performing the exercise and talk to your physiotherapist.  Regular pelvic floor exercise is important in pregnancy, but you need to make sure your technique is correct.  Additionally, it’s important to not stop the flow of urine mid stream repeatedly as an exercise, as this is not good for your bladder.