How To Prepare Your Pelvic Floor For Pregnancy
Ladies ‘bloom’ when they are pregnant, don’t they? We glow, apparently? Though for many women, we often don’t feel very glowy, or bloomy when we are pregnant.
The glow comes from our bodies going through the height of the changes in our bodies, mostly after the second trimester. That’s the thing with pregnancy, as wonderful and miraculous as it is…it certainly brings with it a lot of changes to our bodies.
Our heartbeat and breathing rates are faster. Our breasts become sore and swollen and so heavy. We may get mood swings, skin changes (that’s the glow), joint mobility changes, and other sorts of weird discomforts that mostly disappear once baby arrives and makes it all worthwhile.
Oh, and we need to wee more, partly because our bladder has less space, and partly because our dear old pelvic floor is suffering under the strain of weight lifting baby all the time.
Imagine the weight of several pounds of baby and associated baggage such as fluids etc hitching a ride on the shoulders of your pelvic floor. In addition to this, the pelvic floor muscles soften during pregnancy to prepare for childbirth, and pregnancy and childbirth can cause a lot of strain in the pelvic area.
Is it any wonder that pregnancy is one of the main causes of pelvic floor dysfunction?
Preparing for Conception Stage
When it comes to strengthening your pelvic floor, it’s a case of the sooner the better.
The earlier you start with a routine of regular and consistent Kegel exercises, the better it will be for your pelvic floor muscles once baby is growing and gaining weight, and also for childbirth itself.
In our earlier blog about Preparing your Pelvic Floor Now for Pregnancy we discussed the benefits overall of being in a regular routine of Kegel exercises and also how this can help you to prepare your body for a dribble free pregnancy (and beyond).
Its easy to become fixated on the whole process of trying for a baby, and can become and obsession for many couples, especially if it is taking a little while to conceive, so it is understandable that, at the moment, doing a Kegel routine is likely to be the last thing from your mind.
But, the sooner you start strengthening your pelvic floor the greater the reduced risks of having bladder leaks.
Regular Pelvic Floor Exercises
Working on your pelvic floor now will pay dividends once baby is here, can help with ease of delivery and for your recovery post childbirth, since both vaginal and caesarean births can cause considerable damage to the pelvic floor muscles.
In addition to reducing your risk of stress incontinence during and after pregnancy, strengthening your abs, core area and pelvic floor will help towards an easier delivery too, and who doesn’t want that?
Practice Controlling Your Pelvic Floor with Breathing
Breathing also plays a really important role in keeping your pelvic floor on top form, to help you tackle the changes pregnancy causes to your body.
When you inhale, your diaphragm moves down towards the top of your abdomen, which applies increased pressure in this area. This results in the pelvic floor also lowering down, giving it a little bonus stretch!
When you breathe out, the reverse happens, with the pressure in your abdomen decreasing, and so it continues.
So when you breathe in deeply, your pelvic floor gets a nice little stretch. There are a few simple breathing exercises that you can do to help, which you can find at our earlier blog concerning how breathing can strengthen your pelvic floor.
I also teach this in the first week of the 30 Day Pelvic Floor Challenge that starts on Monday 20th March 2023
Perform a Perineal Massage
Up to 80% of women will suffer with a degree of tearing during vaginal births, and a damaged perineum will quite likely cause pelvic floor dysfunction in the future. It's worth factoring a regular perineal massage into your oh-so-important self-care routine during this time approaching pregnancy and childbirth and can be a chance for you and your partner to enjoy some quiet time together before baby arrives!
Yoga in pregnancy is a great way to stay active. Yoga is great for improving strength and tone of muscles by increasing blood flow through deep breathing and building strength by holding a pose, and it is for the same reason that it can be wonderful for strengthening those much neglected muscles in our pelvic floor.
As with any exercise routine, it is best to check with your midwife before starting a routine of yoga exercises during pregnancy, just to make sure, but yoga provides mental and physical benefits that can improve your overall well-being during pregnancy.
So there are many things that you can do to help yourself as you approach the day your baby arrives, and it is never too early (or too late) to start looking after yourself so you can visualise a dribble free future jumping on the trampoline with your toddler, or chasing them around the garden without worry!
[Website Blog Content Writer - Michelle Silcox]
PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISER FOR WOMEN - JUST 15 MINUTES A DAY
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