Stress incomtinence and women’s health issues

How simple pelvic floor exercises are helping new mums get back to an active life with confidence

Have you recently had a baby but are struggling to be active without leaking urine? Perhaps you are dependent on wearing a pad ‘just in case’?

Whether you have set your sights on running a 5K race  or just need to be able to run around after your toddler – you need a good strong pelvic floor!

Read on to uncover the mysteries of your pelvic floor and why it is so important. Find out how we can help.

The pelvic floor – what is it?


imaged sourced from

imaged sourced from

The pelvic floor is a sling of muscles between your pubic bone at the front and your coccyx at the back. It supports your bladder, bowel and pelvic organs. When working well it allows you to laugh, run, cough and sneeze without leaking and to enjoy a healthy, normal sex life!

Your pelvic floor muscles form part of what we call your ‘core’.


 Your ‘core’


sourced from

sourced from

If you imagine your trunk as a cylinder containing all your abdominal organs, your ‘core’ are the muscles that make up the walls of the cylinder.

The main core muscles are your diaphragm at the top, a deep layer of abdominal muscle at the front, a deep layer of lower back muscles at the back and finally the all important pelvic floor muscles supporting the bottom of the cylinder.


What happens during pregnancy and birth?


sourced from

sourced from

During pregnancy your pelvic floor muscles are under much more strain from the weight of the growing baby and it’s surrounding fluid. This can weaken the muscles.

During childbirth the muscles are stretched further and are sometimes torn or the midwife may perform an episiotomy (a small cut to help the baby’s head arrive).

After the birth the muscles’ ability to respond to the demands of daily life are greatly reduced. The muscles can be bruised and sore or even feel a bit numb.


What is Stress Incontinence?

Leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh or move is called stress incontinence. It’s very common but it’s really important to resolve the problem and, if left alone, is likely to worsen with subsequent pregnancies.

If you don’t address the issue it can lead to prolapse or other complications in later life – plus of course you simply can’t lead a normal life!

The muscles are also important stabilisers of your back and weak pelvic floor and abdominal muscles after childbirth can leave your back susceptible to injury and pain.

How can Physiotherapy help?

Fiona Buchanan, our Women’s Health Physiotherapist, has particular training and expertise which allows her to assess and treat pelvic floor problems.

She is also trained in Pilates which is a form of exercise that is brilliant for improving your core muscles.

What to expect from your appointment

Firstly Fiona will ask you lots of questions about how the problem is affecting you. She will also assess how strong your muscles are.

Rest assured that Fiona is a highly professional Physiotherapist and your privacy will be paramount.

What does treatment usually involve?


sourced from

sourced from

Treatment usually involves a home exercise programme tailored to your specific needs.

Sometimes Fiona will use some soft tissue release techniques and scar tissue massage to help relieve pelvic floor pain.



If you would like to book an appointment to see Fiona then simply call the clinic on 0203 916 0286 or click here to contact us by email.

Fiona is always happy to chat things through over the phone first if you are unsure about anything.

If you have enjoyed this blog do take a look at our other related blogs by clicking here.



How Pilates is helping skiers to achieve fitness in just 6 weeks!


Many families will be looking forward to their half term and Easter skiing holidays. But did you know that there are just 7 weeks from now until Easter?!

That’s not much time to get fit for the slopes and cut down your risk of injury.

Here I explain why skiers are choosing a new 6 week Pilates course that we hold at Physio on the River – tailor-made for skiers to get prepared in time.

What does skiing require?

Most of us sit behind a desk all day and then head for the slopes expecting to ski for a week with no preparation. Unfortunately, that is one sure-fire way to find yourself suffering from muscle soreness and stiffness that inevitably can impact on your confidence skiing – you don’t want to get hurt.

The physical demands of skiing require a fit and healthy body and in particular:

Good posture: being able to hold the correct skiing posture for long periods of time.

Body awareness: knowing how your body is positioned is vital especially in a white out.





Good balance: the ability to keep your balance whilst moving down the slope and at the same time avoiding others!

Good core stability: by this I mean strength in the postural muscles around your pelvis, trunk and shoulder blades so your arms and legs can work efficiently around this stable centre.

Muscle strength: we’ve all felt that soreness at the end of day one and the difficulty getting down the stairs the next day. Sound familiar? Good strength in your arms and legs is a must.

Flexibility: if you are a bit stiff and tight you are not going to move freely on the slopes and you’ll risk injuring yourself.

Cardiovascular endurance: you want to be able to enjoy your holiday to the full without flaking out early on the first day!

sourced from

sourced from


How can Pilates help prepare you for these demands?

Pilates is a mind-body technique that aims to increase your kinaesthetic awareness of moving from a central stable core. If you can keep your centre firm then your legs and arms can work efficiently to power you along.

In a nutshell:

  • Pilates strengthens the postural muscles of your body which will help you to maintain the correct skiing posture
  • By making you aware of your posture and where your centre of gravity falls Pilates increases your body awareness when skiing


What happens at the Pilates for skiers class?

The focus will be on stretching all the essential muscles and joints you’ll be using in skiing- including improving ankle flexibility.

What makes this course different is that you get to balance and perform exercises on half foam rollers designed to mimic the balance demands of skiing.

Learning to maintain the correct and most efficient posture will also be covered.

You will learn leg exercises specifically for strengthening your thigh, buttock, calf and upper arm muscles – those that have to work hardest in skiing.

The class will help increase your cardiovascular fitness.

Preparation is so important if you want to enjoy every day of your skiing holiday and limit your risk of injury.


Our 6 weeks Pilates for Skiers course starts Wednesday  February 25th at 8.15pm.

It could make for an appreciative Valentine present for a family member or friend going skiing. And is a great way to meet with other skiers – enjoying some fun but very worthwhile preparation.

Sign up now by calling reception on 0203 916 0286 or click here to contact us.

If you enjoyed this then do take a look at our other Pilates blogs.


  • Physio on the River
    The Old Ticket Office
    Barnes Bridge
    The Terrace
    SW13 0NP
  • Opening Hours

    Mon: 7am – 9pm
    Tues: 8am – 9pm
    Wed: 7am – 9pm
    Thurs: 8am – 9pm
    Fri: 7.30am – 7pm
    Sat: 8am – 2.30pm
    Sun: Closed

Get our latest offers, updates on services and health tips