Why are pelvic floor exercises important during pregnancy? How is the pelvic floor affected during pregnancy and what pelvic floor exercises to do?
What is The Pelvic Floor?
women and men have a pelvic floor, but it plays an extra roll for women. It is
the connective tissue, muscles, ligaments and nerves that support the bladder,
rectum, uterus, and vagina. The muscles of the pelvic floor stretch from the
pubic bone to the backbone. The pelvic
floor is especially important during pregnancy. This is because it supports
your growing uterus.
Specific Functions of The
complaint among pregnant women is accidentally leaking urine when coughing or
sneezing. You may also find it more difficult to hold in your urine. Not being able to control urination is
called urinary incontinence. The reason this happens is because the strain on
the pelvic floor from the growing uterus weakens the pelvic floor, giving you less
control over your bladder.
addition to helping to control urination, the pelvic floor also aids in
controlling the bowel.A weakened pelvic
floor can lead to bowel incontinence. Bowel incontinence, also known as
fecal incontinence, is the inability to control the bowel. This can lead to
embarrassing accidents and is also the reason that many pregnant women have
trouble controlling flatulence.
Support of the Vagina
pelvic floor also plays a vital role in supporting the vagina. When the pelvic
floor is weakened by pregnancy or otherwise, it can cause pelvic organ prolapse. This is when the organs in the pelvis - such
as the bladder, uterus, and rectum - drop out of place. When this happens, they
tend to push against the walls of the vagina. This can result in vaginal pain
and a bulge in the vagina. It can also cause reduced vaginal sensitivity and
negatively impact your sex life.
How Pregnancy Affects the
are different things that can put strain on the pelvic floor with one of the
worst being pregnancy. During pregnancy, your uterus grows a substantial amount
and weighs much more than prior to pregnancy. This extra weight puts strain on your
muscles and can weaken or damage the
pelvic floor. During pregnancy, constipation can also be a common
occurrence, and can put even more strain on the pelvic floor.
Protecting Your Pelvic Floor
A Healthy Pregnancy Diet Can
Help Protect Your Pelvic Floor
there are ways that you can help to prevent weakening and damage to your pelvic
floor during pregnancy. One way to do this is to ensure you have a healthy
pregnancy diet. You should be doing this regardless to ensure a healthy
pregnancy and baby, but it also can benefit your pelvic floor. The reason being
is that a healthy and balanced diet throughout your pregnancy can help reduce
the chance of constipation. Specifically ensure
good water and fiber intake to avoid constipation. Chronic constipation during pregnancy can put unnecessary strain on your pelvic floor causing
weakening and/or damage.
Pelvic Floor Exercises Protect
Your Pelvic Floor During Pregnancy
best way to protect your pelvic floor during pregnancy is to regularly do pelvic
floor exercises. These are exercises where you practice tightening and relaxing
the muscles in your pelvic floor. It
might be difficult at first to locate these muscles as you usually use them
without conscious effort to do so. Performing pelvic floor exercises during
pregnancy helps to build the muscle strength of the pelvic floor and can
prevent weakening and damage which cause a variety of problems. There are three
different areas you want to focus on when performing pelvic floor exercises
Urethra – The urethra is
the tubular structure that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. In
women, the urethra is located between the clitoris and the vagina. To locate
the muscles here, imagine that you are
urinating and try to stop your stream of urine. You should not do this
while actually urinating.
Vagina – The muscles in
the vagina can be located by placing a finger or two into the vagina and
attempting to squeeze them.
your hands are very cleanbefore you do this to help prevent infection,
especially during pregnancy.
Anus– The muscles of
the anus can easily be located by pretending like you are trying to hold in
When to Perform Pelvic Floor
Exercises During Pregnancy
pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy is very simple and can be done at
almost any time.With some pelvic floor exercises, the people around you won’t
even be able to tell that you are doing them, so you can really do them anywhere and anytime. You could even do them
in the grocery store or the doctor’s office.
How to Perform Pelvic Floor
Exercises During Pregnancy
Kegels are the pelvic floor exercises that you can do
anywhere and anytime because nobody will
even know that you’re doing them! This is because there is no certain
position needed; you can do them standing, sitting, or even laying down. To
perform Kegels, simply tighten the muscles of your pelvic floor. As you do
this, you should feel the muscles of your anus and your vagina lift up inside
of you. Hold them as tight as you can for a moment before releasing and fully
relaxing the areas. It’s important that you make sure that you are only
tightening the muscles of your pelvic floor while you do these. Don’t tighten
your abdomen, thighs, or buttocks. There are two different ways to work your
pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy with Kegels.
Slow Kegels - You should hold the
muscles tightened as long as you can for up to 10 seconds. It’s okay if you
can’t hold them for the full 10 seconds at first, just work your way up to 10
seconds. After fully relaxing, take a few seconds to rest and then tighten the
muscles again, and then relax again. Do this about 10 times to perform one set
of Kegels. It’s a good idea to perform several sets of Kegels each time you
exercise your pelvic floor during pregnancy.
Fast Kegels – For fast Kegels, tighten the muscles as much as you can and then
immediately relax followed by immediately tightening back up. Make sure you are relaxing completely
before you start tightening the muscles again. The full relaxation of the
muscles between each tightening is just as important as the tightening itself. You
can do this 10 times per set, and perform several sets at once with small
resting sessions in-between each set.
exercise is great to do during pregnancy because it not only strengthens the
pelvic floor, but also works the rest of
your core as well. To do this exercise, lay down on your back with your
feet flat on the ground and the same width apart as your hips. Keep your
shoulders and arms on the ground as you lift your hips into the air. Then, make
small circles with your hips to form the number eight. Finally, lower your hips
slowly back to the ground and repeat. You can do a couple to a few sets of
about eight repetitions.
another exercise to help strengthen your pelvic floor during pregnancy. To do
leg lifts, start out on your back with your legs completely straight out and
your hands tucked under your butt. Lift your legs approximately half a meter
into the air and pause. Then move them all the way up until they are forming a
right angle with your hips. Pause again before slowly lowering your legs back
to the ground. You can do a couple to a few sets of about ten repetitions with
so squats don’t exactly “strengthen” your pelvic floor, but don’t write them
off yet! They are extremely beneficial to your pelvic floor during pregnancy
and help to avoid pelvic floor disorders such as incontinence and prolapse. The
reason squats are so good for your pelvic floor is that they strengthen the glutes. This in turn helps to keep the bones in
the pelvis aligned and pulls back the sacrum (bone right above your tailbone)
which stretches the pelvic floor muscles to the right level of tension. This
allows them to function much better, as well as can make delivery easier. Plus,
it gives you a nice butt!Ensure proper squat position by standing with your
feet wider than your hips. Squat down, bending your knees until your thighs are
parallel with the floor. Return to original position and repeat several sets of
about twelve squats.
How Often to Perform Pelvic
Floor Exercises During Pregnancy
different types of pelvic floor exercises that you do during your pregnancy
should be performed with varying frequencies. Kegels are most beneficial when
performed multiple times each day of your pregnancy. When you first start
learning how to do Kegels, you may want to do them up to six times a day until
you get used to them. After you know how to do them well, doing them about
three times a day would be ideal. Other pelvic floor exercises, you may only
want to do once a day, such as leg lifts, circle eights, and squats. Just
remember to never push yourself too hard, especially during pregnancy. It’s
always a good idea to discuss all forms of exercise with your pregnancy health
Remembering to Exercise Your
thing that many pregnant women seem to struggle with is memory! It can
certainly be difficult to remember to do things like exercising your pelvic
floor. An easy way to help you remember to do your pelvic floor exercises is to
do them at the same time as something
else that you do multiple times throughout the day. This especially goes
for your Kegels that should ideally be performed several times each day of your
pregnancy. You could do them after each trip to the toilet, every time you have
a meal, or each time you wash your hands.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
is a great time to start doing pelvic floor exercises, but it is not the only
time to do them. It’s a great idea to continue exercising your pelvic floor
beyond your pregnancy. Even after pregnancy, pelvic floor exercises have great
benefits to your sexual health, core strength, stability and they reduce risk of incontinence.
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