Your pelvic floor goes through a lot of changes when you're pregnant and can be severely affected whether you have a Caesarean or a vaginal delivery. This is due to your pelvic floor stretching during labour and the birth process, which happens so that your baby's head is able to exit your womb and vagina. Many women are left with subsequent soreness, and sometimes swelling and bruising. The problem can be worse if your baby was on the large side, if you had forceps used on you during birth or you had a large tear.

A lot of times, the problem will go away in a few weeks, but sometimes problems can arise from a weakened pelvic floor. One of the most common problems is incontinence; having a weak pelvic floor makes it harder for you to squeeze the muscles and sphincters at the bottom of your bladder, which means that you may have trouble controlling them when you urinate. Many women find that the problem happens mostly when they laugh or cough; this is called stress incontinence, and, luckily, there are things you can do to fix the problem. Read on for tips that will mean you can once again laugh without the fear of urination.

Wear a large pad

If it's still only a few days since you gave birth, there is a good chance that your incontinence will soon clear up. If you had an epidural to help with pain, the nerves surrounding it may still be numb, which is a common reason for incontinence in the early post-natal days. Make sure you wear extra-large sanitary pads to absorb any wee; they'll also help absorb post-natal bleeding. Once you've finished bleeding, you can wear ordinary incontinence pads.

Do pelvic floor exercises

It's crucial that you do pelvic floor exercises, otherwise known as Kegel exercises, after having a baby. Doing so will help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, and can help immensely with stress incontinence. To be sure you're working on the correct muscles, next time you have to wee, start to go and then stop. The muscles you've just used to control the flow are the pelvic floor muscles.

Before you perform your exercises, make sure you have an empty bladder. Then, tighten your pelvic floor muscles and count to 10. Relax, and count to 10 again. Repeat this process 10 times; try to do the exercises about 5 times throughout the day. 

See a professional

If it's been a couple of months and you're still experiencing incontinence, it's time to speak to your doctor about it. It's probable that you'll be referred to a women's health physiotherapist, who will be able to check your pelvic floor to see what is causing the problem, as well as check to see if you are performing your pelvic floor muscles correctly.