One of the most important exercises when you are pregnant are the Pelvic Floor exercises. The muscles of the pelvic floor are some of the most important muscles in a woman’s body.
What is the Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is a set of muscles , ligaments, connective tissues and nerves between the pubic bone ( inside your pubes at the front) and your tailbone at the bottom of the spine just above your bum crack. These muscles hold your pelvic organs in place like a hammock. ( your bladder, uterus and vagina) When you pass urine or have a bowel movement these muscles relax and afterwards they automatically tighten to restore control.
What happens when the Pelvic Floor muscles are weakened?
Pain or lack of sensation during sex
Straining or pain during bowel movements
Discomfort with urgent need to urinate
Incomplete emptying of the bladder leading to infections
Pain or pressure in the vagina or rectum
Eventual prolapse or collapse where your pelvic organs drop down towards the opening of the vagina, and cause a bulge through the vaginal canal.
How does pregnancy effect these muscles?
Carrying the weight of a baby in your tummy is going to put enormous pressure on these muscles. Not to mention the added pressure of labour. However it doesn’t matter if you have a natural birth or if baby uses the sun roof just carrying the added weight of a baby along with the ambiotic fluid and placenta creates a lot of weight for these muscles to support.
What can I do to improve this?
Carrying a child puts pressure on the pelvic floor so try to avoid pushing or straining whilst urinating or during a bowel movement. Childbirth then puts further strain on these muscles and ligaments. Regular exercises ( called Kegels) can be done to keep the muscles strong , whilst you are pregnant – once your baby is born it will be more difficult for your pelvic floor muscles to recover if you haven’t practiced. If you are unsure about what exercises to do , ask your midwife at your next antenatal class. Like any exercises , the more regularly you do them the stronger the muscles will be.
How to do Kegel exercises:
Squeeze the muscles around the vagina as if you are stopping the flow of urine
Hold for 10 seconds
REMEMBER TO BREATHE NORMALLY
Do 20 repeats 5 times a day .
Pelvic floor exercises in four easy steps
1. Sit, stand or lie in a comfortable position
2. Squeeze and lift your pelvic floor muscles
3. Hold contraction for 10 seconds
4. Do three or four sets of 10 contractions every day .
REMEMBER TO BREATHE NORMALLY !!
Good luck and keep those muscles strong !