Postpartum Recovery: Navigating Incontinence

Do you find you leak when sneezing, coughing, or laughing? Are you unable to exercise properly or simply jump on a trampoline with your children? Or do you always need to determine where the nearest toilet is when you leave the house?

You are not alone!

In 2010, 4.6 million people in the Australian community were reported to be living with bladder or bowel control problems and it was projected that by 2030, this number would only increase by more than 30%. The same study indicated that of the 4.2 million people living with urinary incontinence, a staggering 80% of whom were women.¹

This is no surprise, considering pregnancy and childbirth are major contributing factors to bladder weakness. Although these events are incredible demonstrations of the human body’s reproductive capabilities, the resulting impact on the mother can be long-term and cause deep distress.

Despite how prevalent incontinence is in our society, the topic has not been voiced loud enough to the public, which has contributed to a limited understanding of the disorder and how to manage it.

Many women are not aware of the impacts pregnancy and childbirth can have on their pelvic region, or that they can prepare their bodies before giving birth with preventative strategies to reduce the risk of incontinence.


To explore the answer, let’s start by examining why childbirth and pregnancy cause urinary incontinence, what our pelvic floor is and how our bodies harness this dynamic group of muscles to help regain bladder control and to repair the damage that follows childbirth, without surgery!

The Link Between Pregnancy, Childbirth & Incontinence

During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes various miraculous changes necessary to support the growth of a baby and to prepare the body for birth. Although women may be able to tolerate these changes, they can make daily activities a challenge and may give rise to a multitude of problems, including incontinence.

We see incontinence occur during and after pregnancy when these changes start to compromise the part of the body responsible for our bladder and bowel control. Our pelvic floor.

The pelvic floor is a collection of muscles and connective tissue that stretch from tailbone to pubic bone like a hammock cradling our organs and are responsible for supporting the strength, position and function of the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum.

When these supporting muscles and ligaments are compressed, loosened, or stretched, our control over these pelvic organs is weakened, leading to accidental urinary leaking and organ prolapse.

The weight alone of carrying a baby places a great amount of pressure on the pelvic floor, which may stretch these muscles and connective tissue to the point of strain or tearing. When it comes time to deliver the baby, further trauma and damage to the pelvic floor can occur.²

Musculoskeletal changes such as the remodelling of pelvic bones, the compression of soft tissue and nerves, and increased joint laxity from elevated hormone levels can also lead to urinary incontinence and other pelvic disorders.³

Now, this might all sound overwhelming, but there is good news!

Restoring Your Pelvic Floor: Retraining the Muscles

Like any damaged muscle, the pelvic floor might simply require time to heal after giving birth. However, there are also times where we may need medical intervention like physiotherapy to help us recover the strength and functionality of these muscles to a more manageable condition.

Just as you can retrain and strengthen other muscles in the body, the pelvic floor can be rehabilitated through pelvic floor exercises, known as Kegels. These involve the contracting and relaxing of pelvic floor muscles.

This type of training can also be used before giving birth to help maintain the health and strength of pelvic floor muscles as a preventative strategy against incontinence and prolapse.

Pelvic floor training is a non-surgical technique for treating damaged nerves, muscles, and connective tissue. It can be used in conjunction with other postpartum therapies that your doctor or pelvic floor physio may recommend. With regular sessions, you can address bladder and bowel control problems, loss of sensation within the pelvic region, loosening of the vaginal wall and pain during intercourse, to name a few.   

For the Women Who Feel Disheartened During Their Postpartum Recovery

Many women may have an idea of what to expect after pregnancy and childbirth, but the reality is that what you have prepared for might not be exactly what you experience. Losing control of your bladder might not have been something you expected or had even heard about, let alone the knowledge of how to prepare your body before pregnancy to prevent it.

You are not alone; you are not to blame. Unfortunately, the topic has not been a common discussion point for women due to cultural influences, limited information, and embarrassment. It is not unusual for young girls to grow up into adulthood unaware of the existence, location, or sensation of their pelvic floor muscles because they were never taught.

This contributes to the reason why many women only know to practice pelvic floor training after the damage is done instead of preparing their bodies to prevent the damage. Many women are not even aware that they are incontinent or have a disposition to bladder weakness.

As a result, the postpartum period can be extremely challenging and upsetting for women and may even cause feelings of hopelessness and the inability to manage the problem.

Options to Help You Engage with Pelvic Floor Training

You may have tried Pelvic Floor training but found it challenging to know what muscles to target and contract due to a lack of sensation of weakened pelvic floor muscles. Fortunately, there are options available to assist women with the Kegel training technique and to target the pelvic floor muscles.

Kegel Biofeedback Trainers, such as Emy by Fizimed, can help you activate the correct muscles when performing these exercises and track your symptoms and progress over time. Emy is a medical-grade silicon Kegel trainer that you can use from the comfort of your home, connecting via Bluetooth to an app on your phone. 

This app monitors your contractions in real-time and guides you through your exercises with games, which can help increase your motivation to train.

Every Postpartum Recovery Experience is Unique

The postpartum journey to recovery is different for everyone. However, all women should consider a postpartum recovery plan before giving birth. An example of this could be discussing additional follow-up care with your healthcare professional and understanding what signs and symptoms to look out for after delivery.

The transformational journey of motherhood impacts all aspects of our lives, including our physical bodies. Some changes are welcomed, and others are challenges that can be leveraged to help us grow and develop valuable life skills and qualities.

Incontinence may prove to be a challenge at first. However, just as mothers grow to become stronger versions of themselves to navigate through their new life, they too can strengthen their pelvic floor muscles to navigate through the changes in their pelvic region. A Pelvic floor training tool like the Emy is a powerful treatment option for women with minor to moderate postpartum damage, who desire to restore their pelvic floor function to a more manageable condition.

For more information on Pelvic Floor training and Kegel Biofeedback tools for postpartum Incontinence, please click here.

Let’s start kegel training today!


1 Deloitte Access Economics Report “The Economic Impact of Incontinence in Australia”. (2011). Available at:

2 Ashton-Miller, J.A. and DeLancey, J.O.L. (2009). On the Biomechanics of Vaginal Birth and Common Sequelae. Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering, 11(1), pp.163–176. doi:

3 Fiat, F., Merghes, P.E., Scurtu, A.D., Almajan Guta, B., Dehelean, C.A., Varan, N. and Bernad, E. (2022). The Main Changes in Pregnancy—Therapeutic Approach to Musculoskeletal Pain. Medicina, 58(8), p.1115. doi:

4 Morino, S., Ishihara, M., Umezaki, F., Hatanaka, H., Yamashita, M. and Aoyama, T. (2019). Pelvic alignment changes during the perinatal period. PLOS ONE, [online] 14(10), p.e0223776. doi:

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