Regardless of Childbirth Method, Having a Strong Pelvic Floor is Key in Promoting Healing and Preventing Incontinence
As If Motherhood Wasn’t Hard Enough: the truth about childbearing and pelvic floor health
Many young women aren’t concerned or even aware of the potential for incontinence. It’s a distant thought, but with more than half the female population reporting incontinence, it’s a reality that no woman can afford to ignore.
Childbearing is a major factor in the deterioration of pelvic floor health, causing many women to experience the symptoms of incontinence at a young age. In fact, regardless of the childbirth method – C-section or vaginal delivery – research shows that pregnancy itself can cause damage to the pelvic floor.
Between sleepless nights and feedings, a new mother shouldn’t have to also worry about accidents and leakage.
Not to Fear, Kegels are Here!
Incontinence issues can be managed proactively before, during and after pregnancy to prevent pelvic floor dysfunction.
“Women who are preparing to have a child can dramatically benefit from pelvic floor therapy,” says Dr. Bologna, author of The Accidental Sisterhood and Akron Urologist. “These exercises can help prevent incontinence and significantly aid the healing process following delivery. Both methods of delivery can potentially have their problems. If women exercise their pelvic floor it will help, regardless of delivery method. In fact, this is the first exercise a woman should do after birth — even while still in the hospital.
“In the case of a vaginal birth, a strong pelvic floor actually helps the progression of the birthing process. Following delivery, doing Kegels also helps the healing process as a woman’s organs, muscles and tissues shift back into place. Women who have a c-section experience these same benefits. The great thing about The Accidental Sisterhood is that it helps women strengthen all their core muscles. This helps with pregnancy, birth and getting back into shape.”
It’s amazing what a simple kegel routine can do for pelvic health, both responsively and preventively. By flexing and releasing the pelvic floor muscles, you can strengthen the muscles that support continence and bladder control. And a little work can go a long way!
First things first, it’s important to identify the right muscle group to be exercised. Frequency isn’t enough; proper form and methods promise results. For more information on kegeling done right, check out this overview on how to kegel.
“As a mother, I know how hard it can be hard to find time to get back into shape after the birth of a child,” said Jennifer Heisel Mangano. “But as a physical therapist, I know how important it is to maintain the strength of the pelvic floor. The great thing about the plan in The Accidental Sisterhood is that you can strengthen your pelvic floor, core and abdominal muscles spending as little as 10 minutes per day. That’s a real bonus to a mother busy with a newborn.”