If you thought the quick dashes to the loo would stop once baby was born, you might be surprised to find things have actually gotten worse!
This is not unusual. A third of new mums are incontinent because of a weakened pelvic floor – the all-important muscle that holds up your uterus, vagina, bladder and other pelvic organs.
Luckily, this muscle loves a good work-out so doing exercises like the pelvic tilt in your postnatal yoga program should soon restore strength and bladder control. Tightening up this muscle will also help restore sexual feeling for both you and your partner.
Rebuilding your abdominal strength is also important but take it easy at first as your abs have been under a lot of pressure lately. The abdominal cat is a great place to start.
These programs have been created by:
Katie Brown yoga teacher and infant massage specialist
Pelvic tilt & abdominal cat poses step by step
This session focuses on very gentle isometric abdominal work.
- Lie on your yoga mat or rug; bend your knees with the soles of your feet flat on the ground close to your buttocks and hip-width apart. Put your arms by your side, palms flat on the ground
- Keeping your head on the mat, gently tuck your chin in towards your chest. You should have a natural arch in your lower back – just enough to slide your hand comfortably into this space. This is called the neutral position
- Inhale to start, and as you exhale slowly begin to draw up your pelvic floor and squeeze your navel to your spine. Tilt your tailbone up – as you do this, the arch in your lower back should flatten towards the ground
- When you’re ready to inhale, slowly return to the neutral position
- Slowly repeat this sequence several times, trying not to push the soles of your feet into the ground
Over time you’ll become stronger and can increase the number of times you do this exercise.
This is a great exercise to begin toning and tightening your abdominal muscles after either a caesarean or a vaginal birth.
- Gently roll over to your side and come on to all fours with your knees directly below your hips and your hands hip-width apart directly below your shoulders
- Exhale as you slowly curl your tailbone under and arch your back, drawing your naval towards your spine as if you’re trying to take your belly button away from the waistband of your pants or leggings
- Inhale as you slowly return to the starting position
- Repeat 5 times
- Remember to draw your naval towards your spine with each exhalation. Then, with your abdominals engaged, slowly curl your tailbone under and arch your spine upwards
- Finish the movement by tucking your chin to your chest
You can continue doing this movement, or make it a little more challenging by doing the following:
- Engage your abdominals by drawing your navel towards your spine and then try to raise your right hand a centimetre or two off the ground
- Try this 3 times before switching to your left hand, while keeping your breath slow and fluid
- When you’re ready to finish, take your knees apart with your big toes touching and place your buttocks on your heels as you bring your hands towards your body
- Then either cup your chin in your hands or rest your forehead on the backs of your hands
- Take 3 long slow deep breaths. Come out when you’re ready
Next abdominal separation
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Last Published* November, 2021
*Please note that the published date may not be the same as the date that the content was created and that information above may have changed since.