80% of women that experience problems are expectant or new mums. The pelvic floor can be quite impacted during pregnancy as your body copes with the weight of the growing baby which can overstretch and weaken the pelvic floor as early as 12 weeks into the pregnancy. Constipation which is a common side effect, can also put a great deal of strain on an already stretched pelvic floor.
During childbirth the muscles are stretched (and sometimes torn) which leads to pelvic floor dysfunction and many women find they have less control following the birth. The symptoms are often finding it hard to control wind, pelvic pain or even pelvic organ prolapse later on.
There is a common worry that these exercises can risk making the pelvic floor TOO tight which might increase the risk of tearing. The current research suggests that pelvic floor training does not increase the chances of instrumental delivery or episiotomy. Always double check with your midwife before embarking on any training and listen to your body and individual feedback.
It is recommended to wait until your 6 week check-up post partum, and then to start kegel training to prevent the symptoms from worsening. Using weights to contract your muscles with enough intensity, with the correct execution and for a long enough hold, should go a long way to help prevent future complications.