A survey suggests that a third of mothers do not practice pelvic floor exercises

Published on: 25/08/2018

New findings suggest that a third of existing and expectant mothers don’t practice pelvic floor exercises.

What are pelvic floor exercises?
It is likely that your midwife has mentioned pelvic floor exercises to you. The exercises are also sometimes referred to as kegels and can help lower your risk of incontinence after having a baby. 

How do you do the exercises?
The NHS website explains that “You can feel your pelvic floor muscles if you try to stop the flow of urine when you go to the toilet. It’s not recommended that you regularly stop your flow of urine midstream as it can be harmful to the bladder. To strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, sit comfortably and squeeze the muscles 10 times in a row. Don’t hold your breath or tighten your stomach, buttock or thigh muscles at the same time. When you get used to doing pelvic floor exercises, you can try holding each squeeze for a few seconds. 

A third of mothers admitted to never practicing pelvic floor exercises
As well as lowering the risk of incontinence, pelvic floor exercises can also help prevent / treat a prolapsed uterus. Despite this, a survey conducted by Health & Aesthetics found that 29% of women who have had or are expecting a baby said that they never practised the exercises which are recommended daily both during and after pregnancy.

The benefits of performing pelvic floor exercises are well documented, with one study stating they improve symptoms in up to 70% of cases of stress urinary incontinence.
Further research suggests that continent women who do the exercises during pregnancy are less likely to report urinary incontinence up to 12 months after they give birth.

The survey found that 23% of patients adhered to the exercises on a long term basis, with a similar percentage (22.6%) saying that they only sometimes attempt to complete them if they remember or have time.

Another potential issue highlighted in the study was technique, with some women feeling unsure as to whether they are doing it correctly or if it was making any difference. 

Dr Rekha Tailor, founder and medical director of Health & Aesthetics, said: “Having children is a life-changing event, so it is unsurprising that many new and expectant mothers are reporting not doing pelvic floor exercises and suggesting they can’t find the time. Much of the research states that pelvic floor training is only effective if performed properly and diligently.”

So do you practice pelvic floor exercises regularly? Advice on how to remember include doing the exercises at the same time each day, such as when you’re eating so that it becomes an automatic routine or popping sticky notes around the house to remind you.