Growing a baby has a tremendous impact on your body and some things may never return to the way they were before, but choosing a healthy diet and regular exercise can help. Keep in mind that you are pregnant for 9 months, it could take even longer for things to return to “normal”.
Before starting an exercise routine following pregnancy, ensure you’ve been signed off by your midwife or healthcare professional. A great place to start following pregnancy is your core muscles which includes the pelvic floor muscles, abdominal muscles and deep spinal muscles. The core muscles suffer a lot of the strain during pregnancy and can become weaker as the pregnancy progresses.
What is the pelvic floor and why is it so important?
The pelvic floor is a web of muscles, ligaments and tissues that stretches across your pelvic bones, supporting the womb (uterus), the vagina, the bladder and the bowels. During pregnancy, the pelvic floor muscles are affected by the weight of the baby and become looser due to an increase of hormones in the body. The efforts of labour can damage the muscles also. Read more HERE.
Pelvic floor exercises can help strengthen the muscles around your bladder, vagina and back passage.
Pelvic floor exercises – what to look out for
As long as you’ve got the all clear from your midwife you can start strengthening your pelvic floor, regardless of the type of delivery you’ve had.
To find your pelvic floor, the best way is to stop your urine flow mid-flow, to do this you must contract your pelvic floor. Each time you exercise your pelvic floor you are looking to recreate this feeling. Pelvic floor exercises can be done in a variety of positions, depending on which one is the most comfortable for you. You can try laying down on your back or on your side, or you can even do them in a sitting position.
Like any muscle, you need to build up the strength. Start by contracting 8 times and holding for 2 seconds each time, repeat these 3 times a day. You can increase the intensity by contracting more times or holding for longer. If you experience any pain during or after carrying out these exercises, speak with your healthcare professional immediately.
The NHS offer information on pelvic floor exercises HERE.
Remember, listen to your body and don't over do it. Your body needs time to heal after pregnancy.
Intimacy after pregnancy
Lots of new mothers are reluctant to get intimate quickly after giving birth. However, pelvic floor exercises can help restore muscle tone and strength ready for when you do decide to return to intercourse. Something to remember as you’re counting through your pelvic floor exercises each day, having a strong pelvic floor has been linked to better, stronger, and more intense orgasms.
When you do return to intercourse after pregnancy, you may experience some discomfort. OVIO personal lubrication is available in a sachet, tube and pump format, scientifically formulated to offer gentle, long-lasting lubrication. The water-based formulation leaves behind no sticky residue and will be absorbed into your body following use.