Everything You Need to Know About Pelvic Floor Health
Pelvic Floor in Pregnancy
We hear a lot about how we should strengthen our pelvic floor AFTER having a baby, but what about during pregnancy? Research suggests that pelvic floor strengthening during pregnancy can help with reduction in both incidence + symptoms of Stress Urinary Incontinence in both pregnancy and early motherhood. We often hear that strengthening the pelvic floor in pregnancy can make it “too strong’ or “too tight” for childbirth, but we are yet to have any research emerge that supports this. Learning correct pelvic floor activation + breath coordination in pregnancy is going to stand you in great stead for the early motherhood days!
Where is my pelvic floor?
The key to Pelvic Floor strengthening lies in understanding your anatomy, and in timing and coordination with the breath, as well as avoiding excessive load, beyond which you can control your pelvic floor and core. The pelvic floor is a sling or hammock like collection of muscles + connective tissue which supports your organs, pelvis, and assists in controlling toileting, childbirth, and sexual function. To help you visualise where the pelvic floor sits, sit upright on a chair, and placing your hands on your hips, start to rock your pelvis all the way forward, to feel the pubic bone and the front, and then roll all the way back onto your tailbone at the back, or coccyx. Then sit back upright again, and shift your weight side to side, to feel your 2 sitting bones. The pelvic floor runs from front to back, and side to side, between these bony points.
How to I strengthen my pelvic floor?
Start on an inhale breath, releasing the pelvic floor, and on an exhale draw up the muscles from your coccyx to pubis, and then add an additional lift. Think zipping up from front to back, and then up internally towards your spine. You can think of it like the muscles you would use to prevent passing wind, then urine, and then adding an additional lift. Release these muscles on an inhale breath and repeat. Start with 3 sets of 5-8 reps per day.
Once you have easily mastered this, you can build up to holding the PF contraction over several breaths (i.e. not releasing on the inhale, but holding for 2,3,4,8 breaths, and then releasing.
It’s important to note, that overactive pelvic floor is just as common as underactive, or weak – and so we also need to work on “down training” the pelvic floor.
Check out our pregnancy wellness platform, RoseFit - we have heaps of workouts that will totally help you in strengthening your pelvic floor. Start your 14-day FREE trial!