I'm not doing them regularly.. although the nurses I work with all tell me I should :/ I downloaded a free app called KPFE which sets out a routine for you and you can set an alarm to remind you every day. They are seriously boring though eh!!
Trust me, every little helps! You'll never be able to join your kids on the trampoline or take part in the parents race at sports day. Plus if you ever have another baby and morning sickness kicks in, throwing up and peeing yourself with every heave is no picnic! I say this from my own bitter experience. I'm definitely going to try the traffic light thing though!
"throwing up and peeing yourself with every heave is no picnic!" - EXACTLY!! I wish I'd done more pelvic floor excercises with 1st pregnancy. I now see Tena Lady pads as a pregnancy essential Only remember whenever I hear the words 'pelvic floor' so guess Tena Lady will be on the shopping list a lot more.
This definitely falls under the heading of 'things i wish i'd known before i had kids'...
after 3 kids i had a prolapse (they're very common, i'm afraid) so had physio for it, which involved (apologies for TMI) a nice lady putting her fingers up my foof and getting me to squeeze. from this i've learned that when people tell you that you can learn how to do your PF exercises by stopping the flow of urine IS COMPLETE TOSH. put your fingers up there and squeeze. hard. it's way more work than stopping some pee.
when you're pregnant you can't use any of the gizmos you can buy for improving your PF muscles because of the danger of infection. my gp gave me a vaginal exerciser (i'm not making this up) when i had a prolapse which looks like a mini hair straightener (but don't worry, it's not electrical). it's spring-loaded so you have to squeeze pretty hard to get it to move. my physio had me doing 10 fast squeezes and 10 slow ones, once a day. More than that, she said, was a waste.
my other pearl of wisdom is that a bit of time and effort now will save you a whole lot of embarrassment and suffering later. go on, google prolapse...now, don't you want to do some exercises?!
I have Been advised by my yoga instructor (and mother of 3) it is important to stretch and not just do the tightening pelvic floor exercises as this is what will happen in labour, as this is my first I can't really comment but thought I would pass on her advice.
i'd counsel against sticking your fingers up there when out and about. it's about training yourself. i'd suggest only doing them at home while you're 'checking', shall we say, until you know that you can do it properly without guidance. it took me ages to learn how to actually tense the right muscles: like, a month. these aren't muscles that we consciously tense very often and even then, not particularly well.
oh, one other good bit of advice I got: your butt should not be clenching. if it is, you're not doing it right.
You can work your pelvic floor without doing kegels.
Squeeze a cushion or ball between your knees. The contraction of the inner thigh muscle activates the pelvic floor. I try and do these in the adverts when I am watching telly. You can progress these to doing the same thing whilst doing a hip bridge pose.
Squats are also amazing for working the pelvic floor
With kegels too much emphasis is placed on contracting and not relaxing the muscles. The problem is that labour requires these muscles to relax (whereas coughing without peeing requires us to contract!) The above exercises work through the full range of motion keeping the whole core strong rather than over contracting one muscle