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Pelvic Floor and Pregnancy

 

 So you're beginning to think about starting a family or even already patiently awaiting Mr. Stork's life-changing delivery? Well, if only it were that simple! There's no denying that parenthood is a magnificent journey, right from the onset. However, even with rose-tinted glasses on, it could never be described as 'easy'!

Whichever way you look at it, your body is about to undergo some serious changes! How you choose to prepare it for such changes is entirely at your discretion. The pelvic floor will undoubtedly be stretched to its limits throughout pregnancy and childbirth, supporting additional weight and expanding to accommodate and support your little bundle of joy. A weak pelvic floor can increase the risk of episiotomy or perineal tearing during childbirth, as well as stress incontinence, sexual dysfunction and even pelvic organ prolapse after the birth of your baby. But, have no fear; Kegel8 is here to help you get through this physical challenge.

 

The Kegel8 Mother Nurture Electronic Pelvic Floor Toner and Labour TENS will be with you every step of the way! Not only does it strengthen your pelvic floor in preparation for pregnancy, it also offers an effective form of drug-free pain relief during labour. And if that wasn't enough, you can then use it to rebuild muscle strength after the birth of your baby.

 

What Concerns You About Pain Relief During Labour?

Inability to push

Sickness

The effects on your baby's health

Intervention of instrumental delivery

 

So What Are Your Choices?

Epidural and Pethadine

Approximately 30% of women now have an epidural during childbirth[1] - A local anaesthetic administered in the spinal column. However, there are many dangers associated with it. It can result in an assisted delivery (with forceps or ventouse), prolonged second stage of labour, or a drop in blood pressure thereby reducing your baby's oxygen supply. Pethadine (or diamorphine) are strong opiod painkillers that are typically administered via an injection into the buttock or thigh. Although effective, these drugs can result in dizziness or nausea. They are also potentially harmful to the baby, causing drowsiness and sometimes affecting breathing.

 

Entonox (Gas & Air)

Gas and air is a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide gas and remains a popular choice for women in childbirth. It is an effective form of pain relief and doesn't cause any harm to your baby. In fact, the increased level of oxygen can actually be beneficial for them. As for you, you may find it makes you feel sick, sleepy or unable to concentrate but if this is the case you can chose to stop using it. The gas is inhaled through a mask or mouthpiece and takes about 15 to 20 seconds to work. Gas and air can be combined with a TENS machine to create a dual barrier of pain relief. And both are completely controlled by you.

 

Kegel8

The Kegel8 Mother Nurture is an electronic pelvic floor exerciser and Labour TENS machine. TENS works by passing a small electrical current through the body between electrode pads. It is designed to block pain signals being sent to the brain, whilst stimulating the release of endorphins (our own natural painkillers). The electrode pads are placed on your back, offering a soothing massage sensation between contractions. TENS pain relief is completely and has no known side effects. Using TENS during the early stages of labour could even help you to reserve energy for the latter stages, reducing the likelihood of a drug assisted birth.

 

What concerns you about a weakened pelvic floor?

Stress incontinence

Pelvic organ prolapse

Pelvic/abdominal pain

Sexual dysfunction

Longer recovery after childbirth

 

So What Are Your Choices?

Bury your head in the sand!

If you have suffered pelvic floor dysfunction as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, ignoring the problem won't make it go away! It could even lead to further complications such as a prolapse. If, however, you have been lucky enough to avoid pelvic floor dysfunction (most likely because you were doing your exercises prior to pregnancy), it remains vitally important to rebuild the muscles. This will reduce the risk of developing problems in the future.

 

Manual Kegel exercises

Manual Kegel exercises can be highly beneficial if performed correctly. However, research suggests that 50% of women don't know how to produce an effective pelvic floor muscle contraction[2]. This sometimes leads to the larger muscles being worked in error, and can even put additional pressure on the abdomen. What's more, manual Kegel exercises target just 40% of the muscle group you need to work, whilst using an electronic pelvic floor toner can target 90%.