Updated: Nov 26, 2020
Excitement. No, not from the weights, although they are generally known as a sex toy bringing pleasure, they can also improve the tone of your pelvic floor. When Paula (my women’s health physio) advised of this approach, I wanted to tell everyone! I have hope again! So yes, I was excited. A word to describe our pelvic floor after having a baby is floppy. Yep floppy and somewhat stretched. 🙊 We can hold a solid pelvic floor contraction and we can fully relax it too, which is the balance we look for from within. Yet when it is at its resting state, some of us may need to work on its tone. This is especially important for runners, as when we run our pelvic floor should be resting and naturally be in synergy with our body, not squeezing it at all. Therefore if our overall tone is good we are less likely to experience incontinence while carrying out high impact exercise. As well as improving sex life, by increasing sensation and reducing pain.
When we think about it, our pelvic floor is a muscle just like our bicep. We do bicep curls to strengthen and tone our arms, so why shouldn't we be training our pelvic floor too so that too functions well? Look, I'm not a physio, I am a Personal Trainer who specialises in safe return to exercise for postnatal women, therefore I'm not able to tell you if your pelvic floor is strong, needs more strengthening or is overactive. This is where Paula comes into it @ Yummy Mummy Physio.
A question I ask on the pre-screening form for all Mums who join our classes: 'Have you been doing your pelvic floor exercises?' General response… ‘sometimes, when I remember’. This is when I smile and explain we are all the same. Sometimes this is actually a good thing as I can then explain from scratch how one should be performed, instead of having to re-train someone who is doing them, and potentially not being effective. I find a lot of women do them the wrong way round, contracting on the inhale or even holding their breath and bracing the entire mid section. This can have the opposite effect to what we are trying to achieve and push down on our pelvic floor.
Vaginal weights may not work for everyone or might not even be suitable, again you need to check with a physio for your own personal prescription based on your pelvic floor. Although from my experience, when you are on a roller coaster ride of incontinence one minute and then dry knickers the next, you will try anything for some consistency. Pain during intercourse or lack of sensation is also something that shouldn't be ignored. If you are constipated, this too could be contributed by your pelvic floor, or even cause you to be bloated. They are a group of muscles which often get left out and are part of our core system! That's where I come in to make you aware of how important they are to a woman's overall health. The vaginal weights are pretty nifty. You pop it in and hey presto! 😉 The shower is a good place to use them and I then perform 2 x sets of 10 pelvic floor exercises standing up (which are slightly harder due to gravity), adding my core connection breath with each contraction. Then from here, I perform a squat hold and while doing so pull at the loop of the ball, while contracting at the same time so it doesn’t fall out. Letting my breathing dictate the tempo of each rep. This one is a work in progress, and I am gradually building up the rep count. I try to do this as much as I can, although realistically lucky if I do it 3 x per week. I’m just like everyone else and must remind myself like I do with all of our Mamas, to prioritise oneself. You can find out more info at www.pelvicfloorexercise.com.au Enjoy,