Nothing is more frustrating to looking forward to your first run or workout back after delivering your baby, than to find you can’t enjoy it because you have zero control over your bladder. Some women have no problem, but for other, icontinence after pregnancy is quite common. Tina Dicenso, DPT and Clinical Supervisor at Spaulding Hospital Outpatient Care Clinic in Medford, MA offers her expertise to help new moms get back in shape below. As always, consult your doctor if problems linger.
Pelvic floor muscle strength and flexibility are vital to address after child birth. These muscles are located at the base of your spine and support your pelvic organs (bladder, uterus rectum) as well as your back. When you perform activities such as running, jumping, lunges and lifting weight your pelvic floor muscles have to work very hard in order to maintain urinary continence. After childbirth the pelvic floor muscles are often impaired and not able to work as efficiently as they did prior to pregnancy. Here are some exercises that will get these muscles healthy and allow you to resume running without a fear of urinary leakage.
1. Start these exercises in either the seated or reclined position
2. When you are able to sit and hold a contraction for 30 seconds for at least 5 repetitions, begin performing them standing.
3. Progress to standing legs apart, then perform when lunging, then hold a ten pound weight over head or use resistive sport cord/ latt pull downs.
4. Lastly practice performing when walking, lifting laundry basket, up and down stairs, pushing baby carriage
5. Avoid breath holding with any exercise as it pushes down on your pelvic organs
6. Try to avoid using abdominals and gluteals when performing these exercises.
7. As a way to test your strength, periodically see if you can stop your urine at midstream
1. Slowly pull in /contract the muscles that stop urine stream. Hold for as long as you can. If you were able to hold for ten seconds, follow this by twenty seconds of relaxing these muscles and breathing deeply/slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. Repeat the process 10 times daily. Always relax double the amount of time you are able to contract. Your goal should be working up to 30 seconds.
2. Squeeze /contract urinary muscles quickly and release immediately. Contract and relax at a rate of one repitition per second until you fatigue. Avoid letting your abdominal or gluteal muscles contract. Perform another set.
3. Practice 10 Of these per day. Slowly contract pelvic floor muscles until you have reached your maximum then slowly let go of the contraction, controlling its release.