World Continence Week

World Continence Week

This week is World Continence Week and here at Mater Mothers’ Hospitals we are passionate about sharing our knowledge on the topic of pelvic floor health to improve lifestyle and help postnatal recovery.

We understand from research that during labour an excessive time spent in the pushing phase (stage two of labour) can lead to increased pelvic floor trauma. We also know that increased pelvic floor or perineal trauma can lead to a longer recovery time, pelvic floor dysfunction as well as an increased risk of leaking and urgency (otherwise known as incontinence).

The question is: Can pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy help decrease the risk of pelvic floor damage during labour? You’ll be pleased to hear that, thankfully, our evidence provides a confident YES! Let’s have a look at the details…

Pelvic floor exercise, labour and perineal tears

A recent study by Sobhgol (2020) found that pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy shortened the length of time that was spent in the pushing phase (every second counts hey, ladies?)

Doing pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy decreases the length of stage two of labour.

They also found reduced rate of perineal trauma in patients that had conducted pelvic floor exercises during their pregnancy. Both of these very positive facts result in better outcomes for the mother, which in turn may assist in improved recovery and decrease the risk of pelvic floor dysfunction, and incontinence.

Pelvic floor exercise in pregnancy decreases the risk of severe pelvic floor trauma.

How do I do pelvic floor exercises?

Watch our Mater Mothers’ YouTube video on how to perform pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy.  

What else can I do to look after my pelvic floor?

Have a look at the Continence Foundation’s suggestion of the five healthy habits to decrease risk of incontinence.

How do I know if something is wrong?

Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include:

  • Accidental leaking of urine with a cough, sneeze, laugh or jump
  • Needing to hurry to the bathroom frequently and leaking along the way
  • Having great difficultly controlling wind
  • Heaviness, dragging or a bulging sensation in your vagina

Where do I go to for help?

At Mater we have a team of experienced physiotherapists who can help you during pregnancy and after birth with the changes you are feeling in your body. Physiotherapy can provide information and treatment to help you manage muscular and joint conditions, including what pelvic floor exercise program is best for you and how to treat or prevent pelvic floor dysfunction.

For your treatment options please call us on 07 3163 6000.

Seek advice from your physiotherapist to learn how to do pelvic floor exercises, or to check if you’re doing them correctly.



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For urgent assessment at any stage of your pregnancy, please present to your nearest emergency centre or Mater Mothers’ 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre in South Brisbane.

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