Your pelvic floor is a collection of layers of muscles, ligaments, and soft tissues that support your bladder, bowel, and uterus (womb). Like any muscle, our pelvic floor’s health depends on how we move to keep the soft tissue hydrated, elastic, and strong. Neglecting your pelvic floor will eventually lead to incontinence or even womb prolapse later in life.
What does pregnancy mean for my pelvic floor?
Your pelvic floor muscles are subject to increased pressure from hormone changes and baby’s weight. Over time, this pressure can cause stretching of the pelvic floor muscles. This can lead to weakening and possibly even causing urine leakage.
Do you really need to exercise your pelvic floor muscles?
Doing exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles (the muscles that support your bladder, uterus and bowels) will help you relax and control them in preparation for labor and childbirth. These exercises should be continued after birth to aid in healing the perineal tissues and return the pelvic floor muscles back to their natural state. This will allow you to have better control of your bladder.
What can you do, other than Kegel exercises?
- Breathe right
As we face stressors in our lives, it’s not surprising that we take shallow breaths throughout the day. Deep breathing exercises push large amounts of air into our abdomens, engaging deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles to work more efficiently.
A good posture will help to create an intra-abdominal pressure. This encourages your core muscles to engage the surrounding muscles and to keep your torso straight. When your core is healthy, your pelvic floor will be subconsciously activated. It all starts with good posture.
- Do body squats
Your pelvic floor muscles need to be exercised just like other muscles. Doing gentle squats throughout your day will help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
- Do body squats and knee dance
You are now familiar with body-squats. Now it is time to add variety to the movements in order to keep your muscles engaged. You can activate your pelvic floor subconsciously by simply turning your knees in a variety of directions.
- Mini squat punches
Add some hand movements to create more holistic movements that mimic real-life movement patterns in your pelvic floor.
Do 10 to 15 squats per set. You can do as many sets as possible in one day.
You can repeat the same movements with your feet inwardly turned and your feet outwardly turned.
A safe and holistic approach should be taken to strengthening the pelvic floor and caring for it. To better prepare for parenthood and childbirth, consult an O&G.