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Peeing a little when you sneeze or cough or laugh too hard after you have your baby may seem like it is just what happens postpartum. The price of motherhood. Maybe your mother rubs you back or shrugs it off, like oh honey I’ve been peeing my pants for 30 years, there’s nothing you can do about it….UHHH NOOOO thank you! Send your mama to me! No matter how far out postpartum, you can fix this and improve quality of life. There is not a “price” to motherhood that includes a dysfunctional core and pelvic floor. Peeing a little is so common, so don’t feel alone. In the same breath, I want to say, peeing a little is NEVER normal. It is a sign of dysfunction and that something is not working correctly. This is something that absolutely needs to be addressed!
I have many many ways of attacking these issues, because frankly, everyone is so different, so I have many cues, positions and modifications to mamas that are having trouble connecting with their pelvic floor. If you can’t “feel” it, don’t fret! Lots of mamas experience this. It may be because you have a mental block, experienced trauma, you are may still be digesting your birth trauma, you may have physical trauma or scar tissue, you may be uncomfortable connecting with your pelvic floor. These are all things that we need to work through and CAN work through.
Peeing a little can happen with both an overactive pelvic floor (hypertonic) and under active pelvic floor (hypotonic). If you are so so tight and overactive, those muscles are going to be so short, tired and overworked that any additional impact or need for support causes them to give out and you end up leaking. If you are underactive and don’t have much muscle tone in your pelvic floor, you just are strong/connected enough to support your pelvic organs, because you aren’t contracting. Now this can also just be an awareness issue, thats why I say it could be strength or connection. Sometimes with the right cues and exercises, it just clicks and you then can contract easily and start building that muscle thickness. You can’t strengthen a muscle you can connect with, neurologically.
Now for some pelvic floor stuff that the majority of women know about but maybe don’t know the whole story!
I’m sure we have all heard more than once, that to strengthen your pelvic floor you need to be doing Kegels (which is essentially a pelvic floor contraction and lift). And you need to be doing them while you pee, and to practice stopping the flow of pee. Well in honor of the World Continence Week, I want to give you a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t be practicing your Kegels during urination. It’s simply just not functional! This is not the proper time to be contracting the pelvic floor, urinating or defecating should definitely be a time where you are relaxed, deep breathing and not contracting and holding in what you need to let out. This also trains the body that you need to be tense while on the toilet and possibly lead to the bladder not completely emptying as well as creating tight pelvic floor muscles. Another thing I don’t like about doing kegels while urinating is that you aren’t getting a great core contraction. you’re only focusing on the squeezing closed of the openings and not so much of the lift of the pelvic floor which is more of the support for the pelvic organs. Along with this lift comes the low abs and rest of the core canister. The pelvic floor and deep abdominals work together. And they need to be trained together, functionally! Not seated on a toilet or at stop lights…at least not exclusively 😉 Please Leave questions in the comments or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out these two exercises below, from a previous post that I love for working the adductors and kicking on that pelvic floor!