What do I feel about the fact the Duchess of Cambridge (and maybe even Pippa or Meghan too) might be working out to my program?
I’m squealing and I’m not gonna deny it.I want everyone to know that there truly is a way to remedy post childbirth symptoms.
Have you ever sat back in front of the TV as an advert flashed before your eyes promoting the latest incontinence product, perhaps an incognito pull-up pant designed to be discreet and comfortable, and wondered if this is the reality you face as a postpartum woman for the foreseeable future?
A price to pay for having a child perhaps. Or perhaps you’ve watched on as an expectant mother and wondered if this is an element of life you’re going to have to get used to as a result of bringing a baby into the world?
Both feelings, in equal measure, are daunting.
But the truth lies in the fact that incontinence and other postpartum symptoms are not a reality we have to accept as women – and more importantly you are not alone in going through what you are going through.
So let’s first explore the statistics, harrowing in parts, which show the sheer plight of women who suffer in silence and/or the fear of forever being incontinent.
The facts and figures
Childbirth can bring about physical symptoms including urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, painful sex and diastasis recti. That’s a bunch of technical words for; wetting yourself when you jump, laugh or sneeze, feeling like your insides might fall out when you go to the loo, sex that hurts, or a tummy that bulges and feels unstable.
These changes are not determined by age, nor fitness, size or diet. You could be a brand-new mother, a mother to teens, a grandmother – it simply doesn’t matter.
For a woman who develops postnatal incontinence in her 30s, this could mean 50 years of bladder weakness. Contrary to popular belief, this is not an ‘old woman’s problem’.
Almost1 in 4 womenbetween the ages of 18 and 44 experience incontinence.
In a recent customer survey at MUTU System, we found that 87% of women said that dealing with pelvic health issues had affected their mental health at some stage and certain studies have looked into the deeper impact on quality of life. Women living with urinary incontinence have been shown to have a significantly lower quality of life compared with those who are continent, and it’s far more common than you might think. Incontinence affects almost half of all women, while 50% of postnatal women experience pelvic organ prolapse with symptoms of bladder and bowel dysfunction. Perhaps this could go some way to answer why approximately 68% of women with mental health problems are mothers.
This impacts every element of a woman’s life, including their career. In a MUTU System study of 150 women in April 2020, 41% said they have taken time off work for health issues that they did not feel comfortable discussing with their boss, 30% said pelvic health affected their performance or focus at work and 36% felt anxious and embarrassed in the workplace due to pelvic health issues.
The stigma attached makes 75% of womenwith incontinence suffer in silence. Those that do seek help take on average between 6.5 – 10 years to do so. This seriously impacts mental health, doubling the risk of postnatal depression. Sufferers can experience humiliation, fear and anxiety over becoming incontinent in public and distress at others finding out. It can also cause loss of sleep and sexual dysfunction.
I am not telling you this information to summon fear, far from it in fact. I hope that by learning you are not alone in your struggles this can bring about a new sense of empowerment, a new sense of willpower to join hands with the other women who have suffered in silence for years, just as you may have done, and say ‘sod it, the pads are coming off’.
Sod it, the pads are coming off
Our pelvic health needn’t define our lives as women. I wish I could tell every woman that there really is a way to remedy the fear of leaking in public places and with the right support, you can feel back in control of your body and reconnect with the temple you have spent decades cherishing.
It’s not a quick fix. I don’t want to give the impression that two weeks of doing pelvic floor and core exercises are going to bring about life changing changes, this takes dedicated commitment to maintain a routine. I can now hear your mind whirring, contemplating the lack of free time you have to attend classes or commit to sessions. So here’s the good news – you can do each and every one of these exercise from the comfort of your home, in your own time, and sessions can be productive with just 12 minutes a day! Absolutely do-able.
94% of MUTU System customers on the postpartum recovery programme claimed to feel better in and about their bodies,including 97% who said they could now find and engage their pelvic floor muscles, and 88% who said that sex was less painful.
Here are some beginner tips to follow at home to start your journey to remedy urinary incontinence
Inhale and let your stomach muscles and pelvic floor relax. Let it all go and enjoy a complete state of relaxation. This part is really important. Your muscles can’t work properly if they’re ‘switched on’ all the time. The relaxation phase is just as important as the engagement so avoid squeezing repeatedly and give space to both phases. You can do these exercises sitting on the floor, kneeling, or lying on your back or side, depending on whatever feels most comfortable.
Next, exhale as you lift and gently squeeze your pelvic floor. To find the right muscles, imagine you’re trying not to pass wind. Imagine that your vagina is a straw and you’re sucking up a smoothie through it. As strange as this may sound, it’s a very effective method. Refrain from being too forceful and maintain this as a gentle squeeze and lift.
Then breathe in and fully relax and release those muscles, being careful not to push down or away. Again, this isn’t a forceful movement, just release and fully let go.
Repeat 5 times, in time with your own breath, always relaxing and releasing on the inhale, drawing upwards and gently squeezing on the exhale. Do these 5 breaths at least couple of times a day, every day and in doing so.
92% of our customers who had experienced bladder symptoms (urinary leakage) saw improvement within six weeks or less. It is important to schedule in a time every day to complete these exercises. Gently squeezing on a small ball as you exhale and engage increases the contraction and makes your pelvic floor muscles work harder!
You can now engage and release your pelvic floor properly. So the next step is to apply your new skill to everyday life! Whenever you pick up a heavy load, like a child or car seat, prepare, inhale and release first, then engage and exhale as you lift to protect your pelvic floor and core.
About MUTU System
MUTU System is a global medically recommended digital 12-module specialist core and pelvic floor programme for all mothers, proven to improve physical symptoms including urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, painful sex and diastasis recti which can lead to embarrassment, anxiety, discomfort and lack of confidence.
MUTU System membership includes personal support in MUTU Connect as well as all programme content. It costs £99, a one-time payment for lifetime access* or £124.90 if bought with the Kitbag. MUTU System is the right programme for clients looking to – bolster body confidence, treat leaking, lose weight and achieve a flatter stomach and slimmer waist, enjoy pain free sex and build friendships through the support of the member’s community of likeminded women. MUTU System offer a 90-day, 100% money-back, satisfaction guarantee on the Programme. The full programme and extras can be found here.
Sinclair AJ, Ramsay IN. The psychosocial impact of urinary incontinence in women. The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist 2011;13:143–148.
British Urological institute
(Hagen et al 2004)
Royal College of Psychiatrists. (2016). Parental mental illness: The impact on children and adolescents. Information for parents, carers and anyone who works with young people.
2018 MUTU System customer survey of 906 people