Understandably, pregnancy places a lot of stress on your pelvic floor as it supports the extra weight of your growing uterus. The pelvic floor, regardless of mode of delivery, is known to weaken up to 25% due to pregnancy itself. During labour and birth, your pelvic floor needs to be able to stretch (up to three times its normal length) to birth your baby (WOW!).
This increase in load, and stretching lends itself to weakness in the muscles, ligaments and tissues of the pelvic floor. This weakness may, in turn, lead to prolapse or incontinence- something I want to help you to avoid if possible. Side note: I want to reassure you though, that your body is amazing and powerful to help sort this out on its own, but sometimes needs a little guidance.
Having an optimally functioning pelvic floor isn’t just important for pregnancy and birth. Being able to contract and fully relax your pelvic floor during pregnancy is one of the best ways you can begin to prepare for your postpartum recovery. So get on top of your pelvic floor during pregnancy and read 6 reasons to see a women’s health Physio during pregnancy.
To learn more about what is the women’s pelvic floor start here.
When you are constipated, you put additional strain through the pelvic floor to essentially get it out. I’m not talking about an isolated episode of constipation here, I’m talking about repeated episodes either pre-pregnancy or as a result of pregnancy. So drink plenty of water (even if you have to pee during the night!), consume a good amount of soluble fibre and learn how to poop like a pro (I can teach you that).
2# LEARN HOW TO ACTIVATE YOUR PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES THE RIGHT WAY
Studies show that up to 40% of women incorrectly contract their pelvic floor muscles. And 25% actually bear down when they are trying to lift up! I highly recommend having your pelvic floor assessed by a Women’s Health Physio. The gold standard is via an internal vaginal exam and if that’s not appropriate for you then we can use the real time ultrasound to assist with assessment and training (check out my Instagram video of this).
#3 RELAX THOSE MUSCLES…
As with all muscles in our body, they are designed to contract and to RELAX. Make sure you allow for your muscles to relax completely before contracting again. Also to note, the muscles need to relax to do a poo or a wee (at a subconscious level) and allow the birth of your baby during a vaginal delivery (watch this awesome youtube video on how we poo).
Repeat: chest over pubic bone. Learning to move well will help to protect your pelvic floor and core during pregnancy and also protect your lower back particularly if there is more than one child to manage.
How you breathe directly affect how your pelvic floor functions. The diaphragm works much like a piston and that’s because the diaphragm is connected to the pelvic floor by a complex web of fascia and ligaments. Think about ‘blow before you go’ i.e. exhalation on exertion to minimise downward stresses on your pelvic floor.
If you are experiencing any leaking during your pregnancy, it is a sign that your pelvic floor isn’t functioning the way it should. I believe that pregnancy is the perfect time to connect to your pelvic floor and begin to get it functioning the way it should regardless of mode of delivery!
Please get in touch if you would like to take charge of your pelvic health during pregnancy by calling/whatsapp 9780 7274 or email.