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pelvic floor - rescue needed

(56 Posts)
Bo Fri 24-Aug-01 10:50:00

A common problem I believe - post natal pelvic floor - my really needs attention. i never remember to do the exercises, the rare occasion I remember I do too squeezes & then get distracted & therefore don't do them anyway.

Does anyone have any great tips, or has anyone tried the cones or whatever else is out there?
I don't want to spend a fortune. Where can you get them from? Are they any good?

All pelvic floor help without guilt needed please, thanks.

Bo Fri 24-Aug-01 10:50:41

Sorry - two not too

Suew Fri 24-Aug-01 11:58:07

I thought my pelvic floor was pretty good until I tried skipping earlier this week! I do get the occasional leak with a cough but the skipping was a big problem.

That and reading your message has spurred me on to dig out the cone I bought two or more years ago and never really used (20 quid from Boots). If you can wait a week for a product review, I'll be happy to let you know how it goes.

Mooma Sat 25-Aug-01 11:08:48

To add a cautionary note - a friend of mine once leapt in to the back of her 4WD, to lift the rear seat up for the shopping to go in. Her cone fell out and slipped down her trouser leg, landing on the floor between her and the bemused assistant who was helping her. She said they both stared at it, before she grabbed it up, muttering "I think this must be mine"! :)

Alibubbles Sun 26-Aug-01 16:26:59

I had a 9.8 and 9.12 baby a year apart, no stitches or tear but I think they played havoc with my pelvic floor. I have tried cones but am not disciplined enough to use them everyday. I have now invested £165 in a Cleo discreet, it is a pelvic floor exerciser that emits a slight electric current/shock! It looks a bit like a vibrator! I'm sure that my aupair found it recharging and was so embarrased when she saw it, she now uses the extension plug rather than sockets in the bedroom to hoover my room! I had plugged it in out of sight behind the trouser press! Anyway, as to it's use, I've convinced myself it was so expensive tht I'll use it. So when at night I am doing my nails aot moisturising my body, I slip it in and leave it in while I watch the news, about 25 mins. I think it's beginning to work, according to my husband!! Go to for more info

Suew Sun 26-Aug-01 22:31:58

Alibubbles I saw those advertised in a fitness mag and posted the details on the Good Websites thread. I'll be interested to know how you get on although I suspect I would be exceedingly unlikely to shell out the dosh required!

Bugsy Tue 28-Aug-01 08:36:03

Bo, it may be worth asking to be referred to a physiotherapist. After I had my son, I went to post-natal exercise classes run by a physio and she gave us some really good pelvic floor exercises. I think that exercising these muscles is essential and initially it can be really difficult to do it on your own because they are weak and hard to isolate. Physios will have techniques to help you find all the muscle groups and also give you different ways of exercising them.

Joanie Tue 28-Aug-01 13:57:06

Does anybody really know how to do them right? Everyone I've spoken to is not sure how to do them exactly, and who honestly does 100 a day for the rest of their life (oh to be a man sometimes!)?

Ps I really wrote this cos I'm curious and ignorant and want to know, er... what's a cone?

Bugsy Tue 28-Aug-01 14:43:40

I'm pretty sure that I do but only because I had guidance from a physio. I think that it is very difficult to start with and that just reading how do do the exercises in a book is not very helpful. I really think that anyone who has any worries about their pelvic floor should get their GP to refer them to a physio.
A cone is a plastic cone shaped pod, which you can put different weights in and you then insert as you would a tampon. The idea being that you start with a light weight and that starts to tone your pelvic floor muscles as you have to tighten them slightly to keep the cone in. The larger branches of Boots stock them if you want to have a look.

Snugs Tue 28-Aug-01 15:31:33

Quick tip for remembering to do the exercises - do them whenever you take a drink. If you remember that what goes in must come out ......

Tlb Wed 29-Aug-01 15:05:34

just to add how difficult it is to isolate the right muscles - I had been feeling really smug about the fact that I had managed on and off around 50 'squeezes'/day after my daughter was born - so at my six week check when my doctor was doing the internal exam - she asked me to squeeze my pelvic floor muscles which I duly did... then she said no, could I squeeze my pelvic floor muscles....

She hadn't felt a thing!! Needless to say I too have a cone which sits languishing unused in its box in the bathroom somewhere. mUst get it out soon though as number two is on the way... I think I now have the right muscles - I'd been squeezing the wrong end so to speak!!

Qd Wed 29-Aug-01 22:02:28

Someone suggested stopping your pee mid-stream to see how stong the muscles are. Don't know though. I am hopeless at remembering to do them. Always interrupted. They make me feel a bit nauseous, maybe just another excuse.

My friend who lives in France gets physio after the birth of each child to help strengthen it.

I do feel that since the birth of my children and the impending birth of no,3, that whole area is in a bit of a sorry state. I am 31 weeks and the pressure on my bits and pieces seems much stronger than I remember, was this true for anyone else?

Marina Thu 30-Aug-01 22:03:08

Mooma, you have some very funny medical anecdotes and a yucky sense of humour. Would you be a health professional by any chance? :)

Inky Fri 31-Aug-01 10:54:04

has anyone actually used the cones (as opposed to just keeping them in a drawer?) and can say if they work or not?

I have been told millions of times, by the way, that stopping urine in mid-flow is a really bad idea and can cause no end of bladder problems. A one-off to see which muscles are which is ok though.

I just can't remember to do my exercises and I'm also interested in the cones - please respond, someone who's used them successfully!

Mooma Fri 31-Aug-01 12:24:22

Inky, my friend with the escaped cone did say that thay helped to build up the muscle tone she had lost after three closely-spaced pregnancies.
Marina, no, I'm not medically trained, which leads me to another anecdote. When pregnant with my third baby, I asked the doc a question about the perineum. He asked if I was medically qualified, since it was rare to hear the correct terminology. I replied that I didn't realise the terms could only be used if you were a nurse or doctor... He was NOT amused.:)

Grizzler Tue 26-Feb-02 14:05:20

Just found this thread and thought I'd revive it since, believe me, I'm an expret on pelvic floors. Had mine wrecked by two long labours and two ventouse deliveries (although both only 7lb 3oz babies), resulting in... complete incontinence in the wee department. Kept thinking it would improve as the days after my daughter's birth turned into weeks, but it never did, and the result was I had to have quite a major abdominal operation to stitch up my pelvic floor and haul my displaceed bladder back into position. Was also discovered to have a vaginal prolapse and uterine prolapse to boot, so I guess it's my punishment for having laughed at those Tena Lady adverts for 'small bladder problems' you see on afternoon TV.
Anyway, as you can imagine, I've had to do some pretty major rebuilding work on my pelvic floor since the op, and actually saw an Incontinence Nurse for six months. Can you believe such a person exists! What a job. She gave me lots of electric stimulation of the muscles to try and kickstart them into life again via some sort of cattle prod type device, and got me onto the cones. According to her, they're as good if not better than doing the exercises yourself, and more reliable/easier to get right. If you use the cones, you don't have to remember to do the exercises. And they do work, I can vouch for it. I do them every day (well, I've had to, really) and have worked my way up from the large cone with no weights inside, to using the small one with 30g worth of weights inside. Only another 20g to go and I've made it! Then I can reduce to doing them only twice a week.
So.. all you people out there contemplating further babies - let this be a cautionary tale, and look after your pelvic floors!

MotherofOne Tue 26-Feb-02 18:09:23

Has anyone tried Pilates? It's the 'new yoga'and a lot of the basis of it is "zipping up inside from your pelvic floor muscles" to form a strong set of internal muscles. I've done a couple of classes and although it seems difficult to know exactly what you're meant to be doing to start with, lots of regulars swear by it.

Grizzler Tue 26-Feb-02 22:32:47

Have just returned from my first Pilates class and am still at a bit of a loss as to what I was meant to be doing. I'm used to doing much more rigorous types of exercise, so found the concentrating on one muscle and moving it to a certain degree bit difficult. Also found it near impossible to co-ordinate the other things I was meant to be doing, like breathing, neutralising my pelvis and then relaxing other muscle groups all at the same time. Like you though, I've met others who swear by it, and its cetainly meant to do wonders for your pelvic floor and for your posture. From what I've heard, it takes a few lessons for things to start coming together, so I've booked a run of five. And at least I go with three other local gals, and we get to slope off to the pub afterwards - so it can't be all bad.

Indie Tue 26-Feb-02 22:38:21

Just another idea . . Osteopathy has apparently been proven very effective in this area if damage has happened. I have been seeing an Osteopath after the birth of my ds due to pelvis ligament damage and we got on to the subject of pelvic floors. I can't remember exactly what he said about it but it seemed to make sense at the time! It did seem to be the opposite of trying to tighten the area up - rather it was to relax it so that the ligaments would them have the chance to go back into the correct shape. He certainly worked wonders for me and my crooked pelvis, so it might be worth looking into.

JanZ Wed 27-Feb-02 09:47:06

I'v been doing Pilates for over two years now - in fact since just before I found out I was pregnant. I've found it excellent both for my pelvic floor and for my stomach muscles (as well as my general posture and my back!). It does get easier over time to pull together the various elements.

In fact, I'm sure the Pilates is responsible for my GP making my day while I was pregnant (I kept the classes going I was nearly 7 months, when she stopped for the summer anyway). He told me I was difficult to examine as my stomach muscles were so strong! NOT something I had ever been accused of before!

In fact, the physio at the maternity hospital who takes the post natal "Get back in Shape" classes goes to the same Pilates class - and has incorporated some of the exercise into her routines.

Even though I was badly "cut-up" by ds's birth (forceps with episiotomy plus tear) and I'm still not (in my opinion) right "down there" (eg I have difficulty holding a tampon in), I have no problems with my pelvic floor itself - no stress incontinence and I don't need to go to the loo frequently like my Mum used to have to (although she too, who has started going to Pilates at the same time as me, has commented that she no longer has that crushing need of "when she needs to go, she NEEDS TO GO".

So all in all, a thumbs up for Pilates!

Marina Wed 27-Feb-02 10:18:49

JanZ, really naive question. Is the Pilates technique easy to master? Can it be done in a group class, as this is what most health centres seem to be offering, or do you think 1-1 is better.
As the proud owner of a pelvic basement I was very interested in your post. Glad it worked so well for you.

JanZ Wed 27-Feb-02 10:39:28

I found it relatively easy to master - but I had been doing the Karen Somebody's "Crunch" video tape exercises for a while, which uses similar positions, so all I really had to add in was the "Zip up and hollow" bits to bring in the pelvic floor (which in fact is the bit that makes it so much more effective). In fact, if I hadn't been able to demonstrate to her than I'd already mastered the basic techniques and knew how to "use" my body, she may not have let me continue when I told her I was pregnant. Not because it wasn't safe - it was extremely beneficial - but it's not usually advisable to start something new like that when you're pregant. I tihnk I was also her first pregant student (but she went off and read up about it) - but she's since had at least one other student who has continued while pregnant.

What I did was take a private class first - actually a 2:1 class, as my Mum and I shared it - before going to the Group class. That really helped. I think we might even have gone for a couple of private sessions - but the second private session would have been after the first group session, if you see what I mean.

I had another couple of private sessions before starting again after ds was born - one 1:1 and another 2:1 shared with my Mum.

You need to be sure to find a good instructor - there are some around claiming to do Pilates that aren't fully trained. Mine is one who uses "Body Control Pilates" techniques and she's always going off to additional training and having her own technique checked out at a Pilates studio. I found her name via the Body Control Pilates web site - can't remember the address, but found it via a Google search.

honeybunny Wed 27-Feb-02 13:41:47

Grizzler-good luck with the Pilates. Yes, its an excellent exs for strengthening your "core" muscles, providing your frame with greater stability, resulting in fewer injuries etc. As a physio, who uses pilates exs as part of the rehab programme post injury (commonly spinal, but also applicable for peripheral joints as well as pelvic floor), I can't recommend it highly enough. But to reassure you, a lot of my patients found it very difficult to feel anything going on to begin with. This usually means that your "core" muscle groups are very weak and just aren't giving you any feedback. It will come with time, please persevere. Its really worth it.
I've been busy doing my pilates (currently on my third pregnancy- and regularly being told "oooh, aren't you neat!! I can't believe you're due so soon!" and getting my prepreg shape back within 4-6weeks after both previous pregs) my back has been great, and despite suffering from some Sacro-iliac joint problems because of loose ligaments, have managed to keep pain free!
Indie- re pelvic floor muscles needing to relax? This is definitely not going to help your pelvic floor if you suffer from stress incontinence!
However, if you have an "imbalance" in your pelvis with some muscle spasm-ing because of ligament injury then yes they need to relax, to help reduce pain and allow for the injury to heal. This is what your osteo will be treating. However, keep going with your pelvic floor exercises as this set of muscles improves your sphincter control ie the ring of muscles around your bladder exit and urethra.
Hope thats not too medical!

CAM Wed 27-Feb-02 20:38:40

What an amazingly timely thread for me as I have only today completed a 4-week introduction Pilates course. At first, I too found all the things to do at once quite difficult but with concentration have managed to get some of the hang of it. Already feel some benefit and the beauty of it is that you can practise whenever. In a few weeks time I am starting a proper full-on 6-week course so I can build on my technique and learn more. As someone who is used to doing mad step and aerobics classes I am enjoying the relaxing and calming of Pilates.

JanZ Thu 28-Feb-02 08:51:00

I was thinking about this tread while I was at my Pilates class last night. It reminded me that it HAD taken me a while to co-ordinate all the breathing and the "pulling up the pelvic floor" and the movements - but it DOES come a bit at a time. A good instructor keeps on talking you through the exercises and describing what you should be feeling. My instructor is always coming up with new similes for what "engaging the pelvic floor" should feel like. Her latest one is "it should feel like sliding doors coming together".

Last night we had a student "sitting" in on the class - "sitting" is not exactly the right word as he was also helping with going around the class and checking that we were in the right positions etc.

Now that I've got used to the feeling, I often do variations of the exercises during every day life - even while sitting in traffic jams! Somehow doing a "Pilates" exercise is "easier" than doing a "Pelvic Floor" exercise - even though it has the same result.

Like Honeybunny, I was extremely neat during my pregnancy, which I am sure was thanks to the Pilates. In fact, during labour, they told me I was likely to have a 7 pounder - some time, and forceps, later, ds arrived - weighing in at 8lb 15 oz!

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