Being in the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I have to confess that I haven't been keeping up with my kegels. Early in my pregnancy, new moms urged me to keep my pelvic floor strong, but distracted by the impending appearance of my new little one, exercising this area has not been a top priority. That is until now.
Helping a fellow instructor out at a postnatal yoga class over the weekend, I heard tales of new motherhood that both shocked and intrigued me. I felt like I was in junior high having a secret meeting in the bathroom with my girlfriends about tampons, complete with blushing. One woman admitted that she's had a real problem with incontinence ever since giving birth. After reading all the reviews on Amazon, she ordered some vaginal weights. She explained the weights go inside you to more effectively work your pelvic floor. From a strength training standpoint, that makes complete sense. I mean, if you want to tone your arms, lifting dumbbells is more worthwhile than lifting air. But seriously — vaginal weights?
Learn if they are safe when you read more.
According to a few scientific studies, some evidence shows that using vaginal weights (also called vaginal cones) helped with urine leakage better than no treatment at all. Advocates are in favor of these weights because once they're in place, it's easier for a woman to learn to isolate and train her pelvic floor muscles. They even come in different sizes (just like dumbbells). How fun! Once your muscles become strong enough with small weights, you can graduate to heavier weights, although I'm sure you're not about to brag to your friends about it like you do in the weight room.
Using these weights is safe, as long as you follow the instructions. Only keep them inserted for 15 minutes at a time, and properly wash them when you're done. It's not recommended to go out and order yourself a set without talking to your doctor beforehand. They first need to assess that you have what's called stress incontinence, which is due to weakened pelvic floor muscles. Vaginal weights may not help with other types of incontinence.
Wow. Leaking breast milk I'm prepared for, but leaking urine? That's not something I'm ready to sign up for postpartum. And since I'm not too keen on sticking anything where I just gave birth, I'm all about doing good old-fashioned kegels on my own. If you're curious about these weights, check out the different kinds below, and then talk to you gyno about them. If you've used vaginal weights before and feel like sharing, we'd love to hear about your experiences.