Pregnancy and childbirth can take a huge toll of your precious body, so it’s a good idea to get your body into shape before the event. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles whilst pregnant is the best time to start. You don’t want to be left peeing yourself when you laugh, or not being able to jump on he trampoline.
So where exactly is your pelvic floor? The floor of the pelvis is made up of layers of muscle and other tissues. These layers stretch like a hammock from the tailbone at the back, to the pubic bone in front. A woman’s pelvic floor muscles support her bladder, womb (uterus) and bowel (colon). The urine tube, the vagina and the back passage all pass through the pelvic floor muscles.
Your pelvic floor muscles help you to control your bladder and bowel. They also help sexual function, therefore it is important to keep your muscles strong. (http://www.bladderbowel.gov.au)
As your baby works it’s way through the birth canal, these muscles are stretched to allow baby to pass through. Once the baby has been born, your pelvic floor needs to repair and be strengthened. The more babies you have the weaker it can become, and you could end up with a vaginal prolapse. So it is vitally important to strengthen these pelvic floor muscles in between.
How do you do Pelvic Floor Exercises?
First of all you need to be able to feel the pelvic floor muscles. When you are going for a wee and need to stop midway, you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. This is the exact muscle that you need to strengthen. However do not try this when you are having wee as you may get a bladder infection.
There are various exercises you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor:
Lie on your back, legs bent shoulder width apart and lift your bottom off the floor. As you do this squeeze your buttocks and pelvic floor muscles, hold for a few seconds, then release. Try this 10 times.
Stand up with your legs hip width apart, keep your feet flat on the floor and bend your knees as if you are sitting down on a chair. The aim is to point your bottom towards the floor and keep your back straight.
Go down as far as is comfortable, focusing on contracting the pelvic floor and buttocks. Hold for a few seconds, then on the way up, push through your heels and into your buttocks and pelvic floor. Try this 10 times.
Visualise your pelvic floor, draw up the muscles as if you are stopping yourself from weeing, hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Sit down with your legs crossed, squeeze your pelvic floor, hold it for a few seconds. Then take it to the next level, hold and squeeze. On the way down, take it back down to the first level, hold and squeeze, and then relax.
Finally, you can strengthen your pelvic floor with most physical exercise. Take the chance whilst you are doing chores around the house to strengthen your pelvic floor. Vacuuming the carpet is a great way to hold your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles in, just remember to relax in between.