Pregnancy and pelvic floor exercises
I’m going to keep it real here mums: pregnancy stretches things that aren’t really all that keen on being stretched.
For those who have braved the battle of natural birth, you will remember your midwife emphasising the importance of ‘pelvic floor exercises’ after birth. Distracted by my beautiful baby girl, I vaguely listened as the health visitor blabbed away about ‘pelvic something or other’… I have a feeling I may come to regret that my disinterest – thank goodness for Google!
So, for the mums (and prospective mums) who don’t know or have forgotten…
Your pelvic floor is a broad sling of muscles, ligaments and sheet-like tissues that stretches from your pubic bone at the front of your body to the base of your spine at the back. It supports your bladder, bowel and uterus (womb) and gives you control over when you empty your bladder and your bowels.
The pelvic floor can stretch in response to weight, like a trampoline, but its elasticity can be overstretched and thus weakened. So, you know when you cough and out leaks a little wee? That’s a result of a weakened pelvic floor.
Birth affects the pelvic floor.
Babycentre.co.uk explains that during labour and birth, your pelvic floor stretches to allow your baby’s head to pass out of your uterus and through your vagina.
And your pelvic floor may have been over-stretched during labour if you: had to push your baby out for a long time, had a big baby, had a severe tear or had a forceps birth. It is therefore important for women who have had babies to do pelvic floor exercises.
The NHS says that pelvic floor exercises should be done as follows
* close up your anus as if you’re trying to prevent a bowel movement.
* at the same time, draw in your vagina as if you’re gripping a tampon, and your urethra as if to stop the flow of urine.
* at first, do this exercise quickly, tightening and releasing the muscles immediately.
* then do it slowly, holding the contractions for as long as you can before you relax: try to count to 10.
* try to do three sets of eight squeezes every day: to help you remember, you could do them once at each meal.
You can also exercise your pelvic floor with the help of the Pelvic Toner – a registered medical device that is clinically proven to help tone and strengthen the pelvic floor by making pelvic floor muscles exercises much more effective.
The device is currently the only pelvic toning device available on GP prescription. Visit Pelvictoner.co.uk for more info.
Birth and pregnancy repudiates prudishness. It’s important to be aware of what happens to our bodies when we bring our beautiful babies into the world! It’s best not to hide behind squeamishness.
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