THE BEST WAY TO SORT THE PELVIC FLOOR
Lisa Williams never had the discipline to do kegel exercises, but then she found this...
One of the most excruciating moments of my NCT course was when the five of us had to do a series of pelvic floor exercises while gathered together in the teacher’s sitting room.
We all had to pretend there was a ‘lift’ going up from our arses to our abs, and we all held and released on her softly-spoken instructions. Everyone was very nice and British about it, tittering just enough to acknowledge the awkwardness, but not enough so as to disrespect the teacher.
She told us that we should be doing plenty of kegel squeezes leading up to birth, and even more afterwards, to keep up the muscle strength and avoid us, literally, pissing ourselves laughing.
But as much as I didn’t fancy wedging my knickers with Tena Lady pads and putting down the rubber sheets, did I follow her instructions and lift and squeeze every day?
Not in a million years.
Because the problem with kegel exercises is that they are so boring that the only time you remember to do them is if someone happens to mention them to you; in which case you start squeezing away in secret before they’ve even finished their sentence. I imagine you are doing them right now...
You do not want to be greeted with a panty liner every time you drop your pants
But wow, that baby bearing down on my pelvic floor for nine months took its toll! Mother nature, bitch that she is, took away my pelvic floor strength just as my baby took away my time. Going to the loo is a luxury akin to a spa visit when you’ve got a round-the-clock boss demanding to be fed, changed, washed and entertained at all times other than when he’s asleep, during which time you need to be carting him round in a buggy or foxtrotting him around the room while making ‘ssshhh’ noises.
None of this is helpful when you need a wee (particularly not the sssshhhing bit). And when your pelvic floor is shot to pieces, it’s even harder still.
Similarly, when your body confidence is shot to pieces, you do not want to be greeted with a panty liner* every time you drop your Bridget Jones pants. At least, I didn’t, and so I embarked on a crusade to restore the pelvic floor.
I tried various things and this is what I thought of them:
I love yoga and the ‘mulabandha’ movement is excellent at getting the pelvic floor back into shape. But unless you have private tuition, it’s hard to find a class which will have this as a focus.
This is when you jump up and down on a teeny-tiny trampoline in a room full of happy, sweaty people all getting their groove on. Every time you bounce you give your pelvic floor a little workout and the bonus is, sometimes they play Craig David. The downside is that you need to do a bit of work on the pelvic floor BEFORE you start bouncing (and, ideally, go to the loo), because it can be a bit much for those defeated muscles otherwise. Nadia Sawalha found out the hard way.
These are a bit sexy, so you can try to trick yourself into thinking it’s actually foreplay and not exercise. But, while a strong pelvic floor has massive advantages when it comes to getting your sex life back after kids, using the balls themselves is a bit fiddly and intimidating when you’re not on form.
And then I found this. It’s a pelvic floor exerciser which connects via bluetooth to an app on your phone. So when you clench and squeeze, not only are you told whether or not you are doing it right, but you get to play cool little computer games while you do it. Imagine playing Tetris with your vagina and you’re kind of there. I was so impressed and entertained by the idea that, for the first time in my life, I did the exercises as much as I was supposed to and, within a month, I could say ‘so long, suckers’ to those panty liners. And sex stopped hurting too.
I started raving about it to my TantrumXYZ co-founders Shane and Ben (these guys are so used to be banging on about pregnancy, breastfeeding, birth and fannies that they basically don’t bat an eyelid anymore) until they agreed to start stocking it in our shop. Because, although I can’t guarantee it will work for our female readers as well as it did for me, I’d say there was a pretty good chance.
And anything’s better than panty liners.
* Does anyone else find the term ‘panty liner’ hysterical? I can’t say it or even write it with a straight face.
** You can buy the Elvie pelvic floor exerciser (£149) here. Buy it with TantrumXYZ before April 1 and receive a free bundle of household goodies from Scandi sensitive skin specialists Neutral 0%