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stress incontinence after your pregnancy: why I don’t jump on the trampoline anymore

2 min read
Cycle Care

coCreated by

Catherine van der Grijp - Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist
My neighbor and I came up with a plan. We wanted to join our local jump fitness group to work out and jump on a trampoline at the same time. If you’ve had a (natural) birth, you understand where I’m going with this: don’t.do.it.without.incontincence.pads.

I’m sure you used to have a trampoline, or knew someone who had one when they were younger. Trampolines remind me of my youth and the absolute joy jumping on one brought me. And so my neighbor and I came up with a plan. We wanted to join our local jump fitness group. It’s a little like Zumba, except you’re on a trampoline and your butt will look incredible afterwards. It seemed like an amazing plan at first, but if you’ve had a (natural) birth, you probably understand where I’m going with this: don’t.do.it.without.incontincence.pads.

Incontinence after pregnancy. You leak a little urine when laughing, coughing, sneezing, exercising, jumping, or squatting (stress incontinence). Or simply because you just can’t make it to the toilet in time when your bladder is full (urge incontinence). 1 in 3 women suffer from this 3 months after having a baby. After a year, the figure is still 19%, and for women who had a perineal tear, the figures are even higher. It isn’t anything life threatening, but it is extremely annoying and can be a little embarrassing at times.

It’s almost always caused by the baby growing in your belly stretching the muscles at the bottom of your abdomen, making them unable to handle the pressure. Add childbirth to that and I’m sure that you can guess that your pelvic floor muscles and connective tissue become weaker. It’s incredibly inconvenient of course, because these muscles close the organs when we feel the need to pee, so you can hold your urine in until you’re on the toilet.

Give yourself the time to heal

Your pelvic floor needs time to heal after you’ve given birth. So don’t get scared if you leak some urine and give yourself the time to heal. Also, wait a while before doing any abdominal exercises where the strain on your abdomen - and therefore your pelvic floor - becomes very high. Because thankfully your pelvic floor will return to its usual shape after childbirth, and you will once again be in control of your own bladder. But if that doesn’t happen, from week six onwards after childbirth it’ll slowly become time to take some action. You can do some exercises at home to make the muscles firmer, but you do run the risk that your pelvic floor muscles become too tense and that will make the complaints worse.

A better solution would be to get in contact with a pelvic physiotherapist. They will give counseling and advice on your breath, posture and movement, drinking and toilet use. The pelvic physiotherapist will also teach you how to tighten and relax your pelvic floor muscles deliberately and how to cope with increased pressure in your abdomen so that you can hold your urine until you are on the toilet. Some pelvic physiotherapists make use of biofeedback, where the muscle activity of your pelvic floor muscles is measured with a little device that is inserted into your vagina. That way, you can see what exactly is happening with your pelvic floor muscles, for example when you are coughing, and train specifically for that.

Do you feel the need? don’t hold it in

You can do a couple of things as well: do you feel the need to go? Don’t hold it in any longer and go to the toilet. But... before you do that, remain standing for a couple of seconds and tighten your pelvic floor muscles. There’s a big chance that this way, you’ll make it to the toilet. Once you’re on the toilet, sit up straight and tilt your pelvic when you pee. That’s how you empty your bladder properly.

And last: try not to stand for too long, but limit the pressure on your pelvic floor muscles by sitting down every once in a while or -better yet- by laying down.


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