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Baby Steps to Pelvic Health: Why Your Pelvic Floor Muscles Must Be Checked During Pregnancy

During your prenatal visits to your doctor, don’t forget about your pelvic floor! Let’s delve deeper into why you and your baby need to have the best pelvic health during pregnancy.

  1. You need them when you are pregnant.

As your baby grows, there is increasing pressure on your bladder, bowel, and pelvic floor muscles. Optimising pelvic floor muscle function during pregnancy can help prevent issues like urinary incontinence, pelvic heaviness, or prolapse. This proactive approach may also enable you to stay active, even if such problems might otherwise limit your ability to exercise.

  1. You need them for birth.

During vaginal delivery, the pelvic floor can stretch up to three times its resting length without injury and can recover. Pelvic floor muscles must relax to allow the baby to descend through the birth canal. Understanding how your pelvic floor muscles function and engaging in pelvic floor exercises can expedite the second stage of labour and contribute to a smoother and faster recovery.

  1. You need them immediately after birth.
    As soon as you sit or stand after giving birth, it’s game on. The pelvic floor muscles are in the early stages of healing and require rest. If you’re not in pain, not using a urinary catheter, and have no complications, it may be a good time to begin with gentle pelvic floor contractions. Remember that your goal is not to achieve personal bests. Focus on small wins, with movements that regenerate nerves and heal without causing pain. Prior knowledge and guidance are important for effective and safe postpartum pelvic floor exercises.
  2. It’s easier to practise and master.
    Between sleep deprivation and having a baby that needs your constant attention, your pelvic floor recovery may not be a top priority. Similar to athletes practising before a competition, mothers can benefit from preparing in advance to ensure a smoother postpartum recovery.
  3. Pelvic floor recovery shouldn’t be an afterthought.
    By the four to six-week post-delivery mark, when many mums schedule their postnatal assessments, pelvic floor recovery is well underway. Knowing of do’s and don’ts during this period can further support and enhance the recovery process.

6. If you’re not doing them right, it may be counterproductive.
Up to 50% of women perform their pelvic floor contractions incorrectly, often bearing down instead of drawing up and in. Incorrect techniques, such as exerting downward pressure on a recovering pelvic floor, can be counterproductive and hinder healing. Pelvic floor exercises are more than just attempting to stop urination.

The bottom line: You only get one pelvic floor. While postnatal healing takes time, knowing what to do beforehand can take the stress and anxiety out of it and help you bounce forward to embrace life!

If you would like to learn more about getting your pelvic floor muscles checked during pregnancy or how to perform pelvic floor exercises, please call or WhatsApp us at 9780 7274, or get in touch by email at help@embracephysio.sg.

Feel free to look through our website, where you can learn about other women’s health conditions we treat. This is a safe space where we can discuss how we can help you with physiotherapy.

Note: While I am a physiotherapist, I am not your personal physiotherapist. The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as personal medical advice.

References:

  1. https://www.embracephysio.sg/what-is-urinary-incontinence/
  2. https://www.embracephysio.sg/managing-pelvic-organ-prolapse-yes-you-can-feel-better/
  3. https://www.embracephysio.sg/what-is-a-womans-pelvic-floor/
  4. https://www.embracephysio.sg/the-6-week-postnatal-appointment/#content
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/kegel-exercise
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I would highly recommend Embrace Physiotherapy. For starters, I like that this practice is meant for women, hence very focused on the needs of women patients. All the staff are very friendly, pleasant and easygoing. Also, they took the time to listen to my concerns and goals, and patiently worked towards my fitness goals post-partum. Brenda is a joy to work with and I wouldn't hesitate recommending my friends to Embrace Physiotherapy.

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September 17, 2022

My experience with Embrace Physiotherapy has been very good. A very professional approach from the staff, right from the first call I made to seek appointments till the end of the therapy. A special note about my interaction with Alex, my consulting physiotherapist: Alex is very good at her work. She listens to her patients patiently to understand the issues being faced before exploring the solutions. She made me feel very comfortable and helped me to work with her to find the right solution to my needs. Her interactions have always been nice and with an added human touch, enabled me to feel comfortable working with her. She doesn't rush the treatment procedure and has helped me explore more than one solution keeping my condition and the history of complications in mind. She also keeps track of the progress and provides alternate solutions if the current approach isn't yielding the desired results. She is much more than a physiotherapist as she gave some great suggestions about lifestyle which helped me avoid the recurrence of issues.

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September 10, 2022

I started seeing Preet about 6 weeks ago to try and resolve a niggling back pain. Preet was patient and thorough in her review of what was causing the problem. I found Preet approachable, trustworthy and professional in her approach. She showed me a handful of exercises to do which reduced the pain and made me feel so much better. Her genuine passion for what she does alongside her practical approach makes the service at Embrace unbeatable. Thank you!

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April 1, 2020

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