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During pregnancy your pelvic floor muscles are put under a lot of stress, and can become weaker and stretched, from as early as 12 weeks. This can then lead to problems such as incontinence post-birth.
And it’s not only pregnant women and mums who suffer with incontinence – it affects one in three women at some point in their lives and half of all athletes.
The best way to prevent and treat a weak pelvic floor is with daily targeted exercise, and there’s a whole host of products that can assist you from manual exercisers to electronic pelvic floor stimulators.
Lots of pelvic floor trainers have to be inserted so if you’re planning to use them during pregnancy or post-birth, you’ll need to check the manufacturers guidelines and consult your doctor or midwife before doing so.
Here’s our pick of the best products to strengthen your pelvic floor…
1) The Pelvic Floor Bible by Jane Simpson, £9.99
Reading around the subject of pelvic floor health, before you have a problem with pelvic floor weakness, is worth the effort. You’ll be equipped to look after that all-important pelvic floor muscle and be able to do your exercises correctly.
This book has been written by continence specialist Jane Simpson who has been treating patients with pelvic floor problems for 22 years.
It explains how to incorporate pelvic floor exercises into your daily routine and how to treat problems such as stress incontinence and prolapse.
Available from: Amazon, Waterstones and The Book People
2) Elvie Trainer, £169
The Elvie trainer syncs up to an app so you can see if you’re doing your kegel exercises correctly. As you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles, an icon on the app lifts in response to the strength of your squeeze.
There’s also a set of 5 minute games within the app so you can train your pelvic floor to become stronger. You can use the Elvie trainer during and post pregnancy but it’s advised to check your doctor or midwife before doing so.
It’s slightly on the pricier side but with real-time feedback and personalised goals, it’s a fun way to track your progress.
Available from: Amazon, Elvie and John Lewis
3) Sensatone Pelvic Floor Stimulator, £54.95
The Sensatone Pelvic Floor Stimulator (PFS) is small, transportable, and comes with a handy pink bag for storage.
It offers four preset programmes depending on the type of incontinence you have: urge incontinence, stress incontinence, mixed incontinence and aftercare.
As with other electronic pelvic floor stimulators this cannot be used during pregnancy and you’ll need to wait until 12 weeks after giving birth to use it.
Available from: Amazon, Boots and Mothercare
4) Homecraft Aquaflex Weighted Vaginal Cones, £23.50
Stored in a neat turquoise container, the Aquaflex weighted vaginal cone resembles a slightly larger-than-normal plastic tampon.
It can be unscrewed and has a small metal weight that’s inserted into its centre. The cone causes your pelvic floor muscles to automatically contract when inserted.
As your pelvic floor develops with use, you can challenge your muscle strength by increasing the weight inserted into the cone. But keep in mind that you can’t use these during pregnancy or if you have prolapse.
Available from: Amazon, Boots and Performance Health
5) Kegel8 Vaginal Cones, £34.99
Kegel8’s cones are like the Aquaflex ones but rather than needing to insert a weight, they come in a set of three different sizes. The idea is to progress onto a heavier weight as your muscle tone improves.
They also come with an indicator clip so you know if you’re doing the exercises correctly, depending on the position of the clip.
They’re made from soft silicone and ergonomically designed for comfort, however they’re not suitable for use during pregnancy.
Available from: Amazon, Kegel8, Stress No More
6) Intima KegelSmart Electronic Pelvic Floor Trainer, £69.95
The KegelSmart is an electronic trainer which uses touch sensor technology to create exercises based on your pelvic floor strength.
You simply contract when the device vibrates and rest when it stops, and the trainer will adapt to your current level of strength.
It’s made from medical grade silicone for a safe and comfortable fit and comes with 5 training levels to progress through.
Available from: Intimina, Amazon and Boots
7) Deluxe Kegel Weighted Exercise Balls, £38.99
If you’re just starting to train your pelvic floor, you may want to try these weighted exercise balls.
There are six weights designed to take you from beginner through to advanced level, along with an e-Book to guide you through the exercises.
They’re designed to be used for 15 minutes a day to help you improve bladder control and improve your pelvic floor strength. You can use these post birth but it’s advised to consult your doctor or midwife before doing so.
Available from: Amazon and eBay
8) Innovo Non-Invasive Pelvic Floor Toner, £249
The Innovo Pelvic Floor Toner is a belt designed to send simulations to your pelvic floor muscles through a set of gel pads that you stick onto the top of your legs.
It comes with different intensity settings which you can adjust on the controller depending on your level of incontinence.
At £249 it’s an expensive option but could be one to consider if you’re looking for a non-invasive option.
Available from: Amazon and Stress No More
9) IncoStress, £31.99
Type: Pelvic floor support
The Incostress is a pelvic floor support – otherwise known as a vaginal pessary. It resembles a silicone tampon, and can be worn up to eight hours at a time, day or night, to help support the bladder and control stress incontinence.
It’s not a pelvic floor exerciser, but can help you locate your pelvic floor muscles and exercise easily.
It helps you manage stress incontinence but in order to improve your pelvic floor strength, you’ll need to do your exercises too. Keep in mind that it’s not suitable for use in pregnancy but can be used 6 weeks after giving birth.
Available from: IncoStress, Amazon and Boots
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