Even if you hadn’t heard of pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels, before you were pregnant, you probably have now as midwives are very keen to remind us to do them (Actual quote: “Do the front so you don’t wet yourself when you laugh, the middle so you enjoy your sex life and the back so you don’t fart when you run up the stairs”). Kegels can be a bit of a chore, but bearing in mind that the pelvic floor muscles not only support the baby but are also tasked with holding all our lower lady kit and organs in place, they’re totally worth it.
Ask your midwife, GP or nurse to talk you through the correct technique but for starters, they recommend squeezing for a count of ten eight times in a row, three times a day. It’s never too late to show that pelvic floor some appreciation, even if you’ve already had your baby, and there are plenty of ways to make the experience less boring.
Choose your moment
There’s a time and a place to focus on strengthening your lady parts, and during a boring meeting probably isn’t it. Which is exactly why you should go for it – there’s something hilariously funny about covert Kegels. Besides, once you’ve got the hang of squeezing without pulling a funny face, it’s more subtle than doodling on the agenda.
Get a gizmo
There are some truly spectacular gadgets on the market if you don’t mind shelling out up to around £150. Rather personal in nature – they look like they should arrive in plain brown paper – some feed data back to your phone and one even turns the squeezing into a game. Cheaper, simpler devices start at a tenner.
There’s an app for that
Of course there is… there are heaps of Kegel apps for Android and iPhone. Some are silly and some are sensible. If you’re already relying on your smartphone to keep track of appointments, find mum friends and hunt down baby advice, why not get it to sort your pelvic floor out, too? The NHS’s Squeezy app is hugely popular and costs £2.99.
See a women’s health physio
If you had a bit of a tricky delivery, you may have been hooked up with the hospital’s women’s health physio team already. If not, ask your GP for a referral or go private – no matter how long after the birth. Carrying and birthing a baby, however you do it, takes its toll on the downstairs lady parts and having your own personal fanny physio cheerleading you back to good pelvic floor health can transform a lonely problem into a team goal, so don’t be shy.
Build them into your exercise regime
If you’re a gym bunny, you’re probably already doing pelvic floor exercises. If and when you start actually using your membership again (if you’ve just had a baby, you might want to freeze it for now…), speak to a personal trainer and incorporate a few new moves into your workout. You may have found trainers and class leaders already urge you to ‘tighten up that pelvic floor’ during a workout and if you’re not sure what that means, now’s the time to ask. Unless your class leader is Fit French Eric the spin instructor, because that might be a bit awks.