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If your pelvic floor is weak

If your pelvic floor muscles are weak, you may leak urine when you sneeze, cough and exercise during pregnancy and afterwards.

Pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen these muscles. These are sometimes called Kegel exercises. These will help you to control the urge to empty your bladder and make it to the toilet on time. You should not have to keep going to the toilet “just in case”.

Pelvic floor muscles come under a lot of strain during pregnancy and childbirth. They can sometimes be slow to squeeze well after birth and become less effective at controlling your bladder.


All pregnant women should do pelvic floor exercises. Research shows that women who do pelvic floor exercises during their first pregnancy are less likely to have problems with bladder control (urinary incontinence) after the birth.

Ask your GP, obstetrician or midwife to refer you to a chartered physiotherapist in women's health at your local maternity hospital if you are experiencing urinary incontinence.

Page last reviewed: 4 December 2018
Next review due: 4 December 2021