I can guarantee that your midwife told you to do pelvic floor muscle exercises. She probably advised you that if you started in pregnancy, you could lower your risk of post-natal incontinence. And maybe you did half heartedly clench and squeeze a few times. But then you got exhausted, you had a baby, and it slipped off your To Do list.
But then you went swimming and found that most of the pool had somehow disappeared up inside you. Or you hopped on a trampoline and, after a few bounces, felt like you'd wet yourself.
Let's face it girls, childbirth is no friend to the pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor muscle is a bit like a hammock and normally it supports the weight of around 20lb of organs, but when you're pregnant the weight it supports increases dramatically. It's not surprising that it feels the strain.
You can find the official NHS advice from on pelvic floor exercises here, but basically we're talking about clenching the pelvic floor muscles as if you were stopping yourself from doing a pee. It's a very discreet movement, so no one will know when you're doing it.
Also available to help with this is the Athena Pelvic Floor Exerciser The makers claim you can relax, read a magazine, or watch TV whilst this cordless lipstick-sized cylinder is inserted to perform 180 intensive pelvic floor exercises in 15 minutes. It uses a gentle pulse that stimulates the muscle to contract and relax with absolutely no effort from you. It sounds good in theory, but given that many mums struggle to manage a trip to the loo in peace, finding 15 minutes to do this is the main challenge.
I think the best way to remember to do these is to make a plan to always do them at a time when you're doing something else that you do regularly, for example:
When you're waiting for a lift
When you're brushing your teeth
In the shower
If you're on an escalator
In the ad break of your favourite TV programme
When you're waiting for the kids to come out of school
When you're reading one of the great articles on ParentDish
So on that note, let's all unite in one mass clench and squeeze. Pregnant ladies are not exempt. I will start.
**pauses for about 10 seconds**
Now, doesn't that feel better already? The bad news is we have to keep doing them to feel any benefits, so I'll see you back here again tomorrow.
More handy hints here in our Tip of the Day section