Why you should get your pelvic floor muscles checked during pregnancy

1. YOU NEED THEM WHEN YOU ARE PREGNANT
As your baby grows, it places more and more pressure on your bladder, bowel and pelvic floor muscles. It’s a race against time to optimise pelvic floor muscle function at the same speed as the baby grows. Doing so can help to protect you from problems like urinary incontinence, pelvic heaviness or prolapse. It may also mean, you can continue to exercise even if any one of these problems is stopping you from being active.

2. YOU NEED THEM FOR BIRTH
Did you know that during vaginal delivery, the pelvic floor can stretch up to 3x its resting length without injury (and recover)? Pelvic floor muscles must relax to allow the baby to descend through the birth canal. Knowing how your pelvic floor muscles function and performing pelvic floor exercises can help speed up the 2nd stage of labour and your recovery.

3. YOU NEED THEM IMMEDIATELY AFTER GIVING 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 need rest. If you are not in pain, not wearing a urinary catheter and have no complications, it might be a good time to start with gentle pelvic floor contractions. May I stress that we are not aiming for a PB here; just little lifts and relaxations that help promote nerve regeneration and healing and are not painful. So essentially, you need to know what you are doing beforehand.

4. IT’S EASIER TO PRACTICE AND MASTER
Sleep deprivation and a baby crying for a feed may mean that your pelvic floor recovery is not a priority and as such, mastering the art beforehand makes complete sense. Athletes practice their art in the lead-up to a tournament or competition. So why don’t mums consider doing the same?

5. PELVIC FLOOR RECOVERY SHOULDN’T BE AN AFTERTHOUGHT
At 4-6 weeks post-delivery (which is when most mums book in for that postnatal assessment) pelvic floor recovery is well and truly underway and knowing what to do or not do will help this along even more.

6. IF YOU’RE NOT DOING THEM RIGHT IT IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE
Up to 40% of women perform their pelvic floor contractions incorrectly by bearing down rather than drawing up and in. Downward pressure on a recovering pelvic floor may be counterproductive and delay your healing. Also, might I add here, it’s more than just trying to stop yourself from passing urine. A Women’s Health Physio can teach you how to do it the right way!

The bottom line: You only get 1 pelvic floor. Postnatal healing takes time, but 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/WhatsApp on 9780 7274 or get in touch over email to schedule a booking for your prenatal pelvic floor assessment.

You can also visit our website to learn about other women’s conditions we treat through physiotherapy and how we can help you.

Note: Although I am a physiotherapist, I am not YOUR physiotherapist. The content of this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as individual medical advice.

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