I’m Jenny - 30 years old and have had three pregnancies. My first baby was stillborn at 32 weeks, which was really devastating for my husband and I. One blessing was that I did have a ‘normal vaginal delivery’ and I physically came out of the experience really very well.... not stretch marks, no tearing, no bladder problems – just heartbroken and breasts full of milk. Because my body was so ripe, I was blessed to conceive again within 12 weeks of delivering our first baby. I was a bit of a nut case during this time as I was so terrified that it may result with no baby to hold and keep.
I didn’t exercise during this pregnancy, I ate well but did gain over twenty kilos and also got stretch marks, a weakened bladder, heart burn, cramping but best of all a healthy little girl (normal vaginal delivery).
I got a lot of advice during her pregnancy from experts on grief and counseling. So much so, that I almost missed getting the normal advice that women need whilst pregnant! One of the things I wished I had known and thought more about was; what I would be like “down there” after delivering children.
Actually, I did think about it – but more from a sexual aspect and never from a wee wee and flatulence control prospective. I can remember a day when our daughter was 3 weeks old and I was on my way to the toilet, my husband stopped me and went into a long conversation. I have no idea what he was discussing with me as all I could think was “I am so glad I am wearing a maternity pad right now as I am fairly confident I am wetting myself!” This lack of control wasn’t an everyday occurrence and it did quickly resolve, however I am good at practising my pelvic floor exercises, as I knew I was too young to have this problem, and I was thinking of my future baby making health.
I then conceived again when my daughter was only 5 months old. I was fully breastfeeding at the time, but our little boy was meant to be. I did exercise through his pregnancy and gained 16 kilos with him. During this time I had also started my own business, running exercise classes for mums and mum-to-be. We finish every session with pelvic floor lifts because it’s so important and makes me exercise this area whilst teaching the lesson.
After my son was born (normal vaginal delivery), I didn’t have the same urine problems for as long. Perhaps the first week I noted that I didn’t have quite as long time frame to get myself to the toilet but I remember feeling relieved as I assumed it would be worse third time around. The new surprise was that I was releasing wind left, right and center with very little to no warning. This was incredibly embarrassing. Something people don’t ever really talk about... I tell my clients often about my own personal journey pre and post baby, as I am not embarrassed anymore, because I have worked on and improved my pelvic floor issues. I think sometimes people feel like their post baby body is their ‘new normal’. It doesn’t have to be – so much can be done during pregnancy, labour and after baby arrives, to improve pelvic floor control.
From Rachael 33 years:
I’ve had three children, and yes, have a few pelvic floor issues. My first child Ella was born in 2004 and she ended up being a surprisingly big baby (4.2kg) and was quite a difficult delivery. After a ventouse delivery, and quite a number of stitches, I found that my pelvic floor was left in a bit of a mess. Whilst my day-to-day control was fine, as soon as I started to play any sport (such as tennis or netball) I would leak.
So I saw a physio and she did an examination and said that I had some scar tissue interfering with one side of my pelvic floor, and while I would never have a perfect pelvic floor, I could bring it back up to scratch. So I spent about 4 months doing exercises and used the "cones" to increase my control, and I found them really good. I would start by having a cone in, and walking around the house just trying to keep it in place. Once I had this down pat, I would have to do more challenging things, like squats, but still keep it in place. I increased the weights of the cones and eventually had most of my control back. That was ... until baby number two!
My second child (who was induced early to avoid a large birth weight) 2 years later was a much better delivery but I was still left with the stress incontinence afterwards. I decided at this point that since I was planning on having baby number three, I would just "wait" until that event and then really sort out my pelvic floor.
So, here I am. I had my third child last year and again have the stress incontinence. It is only really when I play sport, or if I have a bout of sneezing with a full bladder. My physio has given me some great exercises to do, as well as ordering the "cones" so I can follow that path again. The cones might not suit everyone but they worked for me.
I find this a much more motivating and achievable idea than just doing pelvic floor exercises every day for ever, because to be honest, I just don't get around to doing it for long - and I have always been a much better person at sticking to something intense for a short period of time. I’m better now with remembering to lift my pelvic floor when I pick up my children. I feel really positive about all this, and feel that I CAN and I WILL get my pelvic floor back so that I don't need to worry about any leaks when playing sport.
From Sheree 36 years:
Hi, it's Sheree here and I just wanted to say thank you for the instrumental part your book Hold It Mama played in the birth of my little girl 6 weeks ago. When I was giving birth, her head was out and she started kicking while the rest of her was still inside and my body was determined to get her out as quick as possible after that. The look on my Obstetrician and Midwives faces said they had never come across something like that before. The Midwife told me that if I didn't slow it down I was going to tear to pieces. I focused on a picture of Ayers Rock on the wall and used all my concentration to get the rest of her out with not even a graze. I credit your book and its exercises for me having the strength and control of my muscles to do this.
I have highly recommended your book to all the expecting mothers I know and can not thank you enough for your help in my birth. My husband said if I ever looked at him like I looked at that picture he was going to run!!
In my opinion Hold It Mama is a must have for any expecting mum - if I can help them make the decision to buy it I know they will be thankful!
- Female athlete risk evaluation
- Painful pelvic floor muscles & common gynae conditions
- Can pelvic floor muscles be too tight to give birth?
- Natural Solutions: UTI, Bladder Pain & Vaginal Infections
- What's going to happen to my pelvic floor next time I give birth?
- Benefits of pelvic floor muscle training
- The Potential of Pessaries
- Great Pessary Workshop
- Prolapse and Pelvic Floor Muscles
- What is a 'relaxed vaginal outlet'?