Busy mums or mums-to-be have so many things to juggle – stress incontinence doesn't need to be one of them.
Being pregnant and giving birth to your baby are two of the most special experiences of your life. Unfortunately, it’s not always plain sailing. If pregnancy isn’t uncomfortable enough, and labour isn’t painful enough, we often have to deal with those little leaks here and there too, whether it’s down to spotting, or stress incontinence, either during pregnancy or post child birth.
Most women experience stress incontinence in varying degrees during pregnancy due to changes in hormones, pressure on the bladder, pelvic floor muscles around the bladder relaxing to prepare for baby’s delivery, or suffering an over reactive bladder.
A large number of women also suffer post-childbirth as pelvic floor muscles are significantly weakened, and little leakages occur when sneezing, laughing or coughing, or getting up from a sitting position. Stress incontinence is also common and particularly troublesome during exercise and a lot of women avoid gym workouts and exercise classes, as they are desperate to avoid the embarrassment and the tell-tale signs of ‘leaking’, especially after having a baby. Kate Winslet has three children and recently mentioned on Graham Norton’s chat show that 'by 3rd sneeze, it’s game over ‘
One in three women who’ve had children experience stress incontinence, the majority are in the 30-40 age range.
5 Top Tips for Pelvic Health:1.Do pelvic floor muscle exercises – do them three times daily for 3 months for best effect.
You are never too young or too old to do pelvic floor muscle exercises – men can do them as well.
2. Learn ‘the knack’ – contract your pelvic floor before you cough, sneeze, stand up or do anything that puts pressure on your pelvic floor.
3. Get help – there are specialist continence services available to help you – don’t go straight for pads because most people don’t need them.
4. Lose weight – even half a stone can mean the difference between being dry and leaking.
5.Avoid constipation – it puts pressure on the pelvic floor. A healthy bowel is important for bladder health.
3 Steps to Perfect Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises:1. Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as hard as you can (as if trying to stop wind or urine)
2. Hold and count slowly .... 1 elephant, 2 elephants, 3 elephants (saying ‘elephant’ is about 1 second)
3. Then relax for ......1 elephant, 2 elephants, 3 elephants
Do not hold your breath
Try not to squeeze your buttocks or stomach muscles.
Do this exercise 10 times – this is called 1 set
Do 1 set 3 times a day
As you get better you can count up to 5 and then relax for a count of 5
You can increase your squeeze hold up to 10 seconds over time
You must relax your muscles for the same amount of time as you squeeze them
You can do the exercises when standing, sitting or lying down.
Carol Smillie, founder of Diary Doll, comments ‘I’m a 54 year old woman, a mother of three teenagers, and after joining them on the trampoline a couple of years ago, I know first hand what the issue is.......We are proud that Diary Doll is a helping hand for women across the country. Mums are busy enough and they don’t need to have the added worry of stress incontinence on their minds.’ Diary Doll has now joined forces with, and is proud to be supporting The Bowl and Bladder Foundation who provided these useful tips.
DiaryDoll are available from Boots stores nationwide and www.boots.com.