I am a mom. I understand. Sometimes (particularly while jumping) we pee a little during our workouts. And anyone reading this who isn't a mother.. well...... sorry to say it's true most of the time for women after having babies. This is not my areas of expertise BUT I thought it would be great to bring in the wonderful (and gorgeous) Kaye Burrows from Core Love Fitness who DOES specialize in this area to talk about WHY we pee! Read on below for Kaye's amazing advice!
Why are you peeing during your workout? And how to stop!
I remember leaving my first Stroller Boot camp class after my daughter was born and thinking “Is my vagina just sweating a lot or did I totally pee my pants?” Hint: no, vaginas don’t sweat a lot.
There is a major misconception that if you are experiencing urinary incontinence (leaking pee) after having babies it is because your pelvic floor is stretched, loose and weak. Another misconception is that doing 100’s of kegals a day will solve all of your pelvic floor problems.
In my experience, many women experiencing leaking have a hypertonic (tight) pelvic floor and thus have a really hard time strengthening the muscles because they cannot first get them to relax. Your pelvic floor is made up of muscles that, just like any other muscle, work best when they can both fully relax and fully contract! If this is your pelvic floor, kegal-ing away all day is not going to solve the problem.
You can see from this diagram of the pelvic region that your pelvic floor is supporting some pretty important stuff! I know that you may be desperate to get your ‘body back’ after having babies and so you turn to crunches/sit-ups, planks and running. For the sake of your pelvic floor, I actually recommend you don’t do any of those, if you are experiencing incontinence. Just for now, not for forever, I promise!
What to do:
1) First off,
I can’t recommend a pelvic health physiotherapist enough. I would never have healed my own pelvic floor without one! Here is a helpful link from Pelvienne Wellness that can help you find one. If you want help locating one in Edmonton contact me here and I can share my recommendations.
Next, you need to figure out if the way you breathe and stand is supporting your core and pelvic floor.
Start lying on your back, and place one hand on your ribs and one hand on your belly. As you inhale, intentionally bring your breath into your ribs and into your belly instead of lifting your shoulders and breathing into your chest. This encourages your diaphragm to move through its full range of motion and supports the deep core and pelvic floor muscles. As you exhale, feel both your ribs and your belly sink towards your spine. Try to breathe right into your pelvic floor. Repeat 10 times (or more- relax and breathe Mamas!).
The two cues I say most often are:
“Leave your behind (bum) behind you”
“Keep your headlights (breasts) shining forward”
In the above photo my hips have shifted forward and my ribs have lifted up and shifted back. This is a really common posture for moms because it takes some of the load of carrying babies (all day long!) off of the arms and into our spine and pelvis.
In this photo, I have brought my bum behind me and rotated my ribs down and forward so that my “headlights” are shining forward. This is a much better alignment to support my core and pelvic floor.
4) Be smart about your workouts.
Find an expert that you trust to guide you. Burpees, jumping jacks, crunches and other high intensity exercises that are creating a ton of intra-abdominal pressure are not for a body that is repairing the core and pelvic floor. If your class instructor or trainer doesn’t have a lot of knowledge about diastasis recti, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic floor healing, incontinence and hormone levels in nursing moms, look elsewhere. You don’t want to move backwards in terms of healing and strengthening. If you are looking for a fantastic online program that you can follow along at home, go here. And if you need more help, please reach out! I am so passionate about helping women feel connected, strong and at home in their bodies. I would love to help you get there! You can find me at corelove.ca, on Facebook and Instagram.