I have a little secret to share: all moms should be able to jump on a trampoline. Yep, that’s right…just because you had a baby does NOT mean you can never jump on a trampoline again for fear of peeing your pants. In fact, moms should be able to jump on a trampoline, do box jumps, run, jump rope or even do jumping jacks. Whatever your exercise of choice is, you may or may not be ready to jump back in just yet but don’t worry, we also have solutions.
Signs you’re not ready for jumping YET:
1. You pee yourself.
Even the littlest of dribbles is still a leak and a sign that your pelvic floor is not strong enough YET to manage the change in pressure.
Using a tampon or pad during exercise to catch leakage may decrease the sensation of stress incontinence but it does not address the cause.
2. You are still bleeding from delivery or it increases after exercise.
Slow is fast. Bleeding after delivery is a sign that the body is not ready to take on the demands of that exercise.
3. You experience pelvic pain or discomfort.
A feeling of heaviness, pressure or pain anywhere in the pelvic region is a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction.
4. You have abdominal tenting or coning (also called doming or bulging).
This can be a sign of diastasis recti or an inability of the body to maintain pressure. The best way to see if you have abdominal tenting or coning during a movement is to video tape yourself so you can watch as you do the movements.
So I need to kegel?
Kegels are designed to strengthen the muscle that controls the bladder. While kegels sound like an amazing option at first glance, they can actually cause more harm than good. It’s important to be evaluated by a licensed professional who can tell if your pelvic floor is weak and needs strengthening or tight and needs relaxing or a combination of the above. Immediately jumping to kegels without being able to properly relax the pelvic floor can actually increase incontinence.
What can I do to improve the leak?
Nobody likes to be told to “slow down” and that includes myself. The thing is, when it comes to the pelvic floor it is best to let the muscles heal. As Lee Boyce says, “Who cares what you lift in six weeks. I care what you life in 6 years.” Taking the time now to properly heal and strengthen your pelvic floor now will allow you to be stronger and decrease your risk of incontinence later. One of the best things you can do for long-term health and function is take the time now to properly rehab from birth so you are able to continue living life fully in the future.
Pelvic floor rehab starts with creating appropriate intra-abdominal pressure through proper diaphragmatic breathing. By re-connecting the diaphragm and core with the pelvic floor we are able to naturally strengthen and support the pelvic floor in a way that is transferable to everyday living. Just as we don’t go through our days telling our glutes to fire, we don’t want to constantly think about firing our pelvic floor as this should come naturally through the breath.
Here are two resources that may help you with leakage during exercise:
Reach out to a local women’s health physical therapist
Reach out to your local BIRTHFIT Regional Director