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?


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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’


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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?


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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?


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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 020 8876 5690 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 can help new mums get safely back to running – post pregnancy

After having a baby all new mums will know that their stomach muscles have been stretched during pregnancy and lose their muscle strength.

For mums that were regular runners pre-pregnancy, the temptation can be to get back to running at the earliest opportunity, with the hope their strength and tone will regain quite quickly.

This is where I urge caution!

The deep stomach and back muscles, diaphragm and pelvic floor form what we call your ‘core’. They are the muscles that support your lower back and pelvic area.

As a Physiotherapist I regularly see new mums who have tried returning to running but develop back, hip or knee pain. This is often because they start running before they have regained their core muscle strength.

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How Pilates can help you post pregnancy

Many of your leg muscles are attached to your pelvis. A strong core provides a firm platform for these muscles to work from. Without this firm core it is like trying to throw a ball accurately whilst standing on a floating platform! There’s no stability leading to injuries.

Pilates exercises target these all important deep postural muscles of your trunk.

Finding the right Pilates class – post pregnancy

Physio on the River

Post pregnancy when your body needs special care, we strongly recommend having a couple of private Pilates lessons first, before you join a class.

This allows you to get to grips with the exercises, understand your body, progress more quickly once you are in a small class setting and enjoy it!

The Pilates teacher will help you ‘find’ the muscles you are supposed to be working. She will tell you what you are supposed to do (hearing), demonstrate what you need to do (seeing) and may get you to put your hands on your abdominal muscles to get feedback (feeling).

The benefits of Pilates post-pregnancy

  • Get your tummy muscles back into their pre-baby state – or perhaps better!
  • Get back to sport safely
  • Prevent back pain and stress incontinence in the future
  • Regain great posture
  • Meet other new mums and share experiences

Why chose Physio on the River Pilates classes in Barnes?

Pilates classes are a popular form of exercise that can be found in various gyms and church halls.

At Physio on the River our whole ethos is around musculo-skeletal health and well-being. You are in a safe, light and airy, well-equipped environment, with highly trained instructors.

Clinic studio

The way our classes are run ensures you get personal attention:

  • Maximum 8 people in a class so there is plenty of close supervision. This is vital because the exercises are subtle and precise and it takes time to learn what muscles you are working.
  • The exercises are carefully graded so you progress through the different levels of difficulty without injuring yourself.
  • Where space allows we offer to help you make up any missed classes.
  • The classes are taught as a course so you are progressing all the time.
  • Our teachers are very experienced and well qualified so really know what they are doing.
  • We run our classes in terms like school terms so they are easy to fit around older children.
  • Some of our teachers are Physios as well so can help if you have an existing back problem or other injury.
  • We all know how hard it is to fit exercise in after a baby – but the classes are just an hour long and the exercises easy to practise at home in between times.

Many people give up on classes at the start because they find it hard to know what they should be doing. This rarely happens at Physio on the River because of the all-round caring environment you will experience and enjoy.

To book a Pilates class

Please call 020 8876 5690 and our Class Co-ordinator, Angela Ranger will be pleased to help you organise a private lesson and find the right class for you. Or you can click here to contact us.

Find out more about our small group Pilates Classes

Our articles on Pilates

  • 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

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Because of our great transport links and free on-street parking we have regular patients and exercise class participants from:
Barnes, Mortlake, East Sheen, Putney and Roehampton