If you are a pregnant woman, then you must have experienced specific symptoms like incontinence, leakage, constipation or frequent urge to pee. All these are signs of weak pelvic floor muscles. Tightened or weak pelvic muscles cause pelvic pain and lack of control of the bladder and bowels. Does pregnancy impact the pelvic floor muscles? How can you strengthen your pelvic floor during pregnancy? If you are looking for the answers to these questions, you have hit the right spot. In this article, we will be sharing with you the required information on keeping your pelvic floor muscles strong and prenatal pelvic floor exercises for moms-to-be that you can perform at home regularly.
Why Pelvic Floor Exercises During Pregnancy?
Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles that do not get a lot of attention unless you actually start facing issues like incontinence during your pregnancy. Having a weak pelvic floor before you are pregnant is also very much possible, which means that you might as well want to perform these exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor even before you are pregnant. Wondering why pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy must be performed? Here is your answer.
Having a strong pelvic floor is actually beneficial for you in multiple ways when you are pregnant. Some of these benefits include a lesser risk of incontinence during and after pregnancy, easier childbirth and a reduced second stage of labour. You can start with pelvic floor exercises for pregnancy at any point of time in your pregnancy with the advice of your healthcare provider. These exercises train the muscles to become more vital for your benefit.
How Pregnancy Impacts The Pelvic Floor
As per many medical professionals, it is not pregnancy that impacts the pelvic floor muscles entirely to make them tight or weak. While issues like leakage and incontinence become evident during pregnancy, it is not a sign that your pelvic floor muscles have become soft or friendly during pregnancy. If your muscles have been weak or tight before you were pregnant, chances are that you will notice these common symptoms while you are pregnant. Factors like the growing weight of your baby and hormonal changes strain the pelvic floor muscles, which can be strengthened by performing prenatal pelvic floor exercises.
Pelvic Floor Exercises For Pregnancy
Let us now take a look at some pelvic floor exercises for pregnancy that pregnancy fitness experts have designed. If you are already pregnant and wish to start doing these exercises, it is advisable to seek consultation from your doctor before you proceed with the same.
Kegel Exercises For Pregnant Women
One of the most commonly known exercises for moms-to-be is the kegel exercise. What are kegel exercises for pregnant women, and how do these benefit you? Let us find out. Kegels are beneficial for strengthening your pelvic muscles to prevent urinary incontinence after childbirth. To perform this exercise, you must:
- Squeeze the muscles around your vagina as if you were to hold the flow of urine.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds
- Breathe normally
- Release slowly
- Complete 20 reps five times a day
- Stand with your feet wider apart than your hips as you hold a sturdy object.
- Keeping your weight over your heels, lower your body into a deep squat.
- Perform a kegel
- Draw in your abs while you exhale
- Repeat five times
Also known as diaphragmatic breathing, belly breathing helps in stretching your pelvic floor muscles.
- With your lower back supported and your hands on your belly, sit cross-legged or lie down on your back.
- Slowly breathe in through your nose, expanding your belly while you keep your back and shoulders still.
- Now draw in your abdominals and exhale through your mouth, feeling them deflate.
This exercise helps strengthen your pelvic floor and glutes.
- With your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and feet touching the ground, lie down on your back.
- Draw your hips into the air as you push through your heels.
- Hold this position for a few seconds.
- Bring yourself back to the starting position.
- Do 1 or 2 sets of 10 reps each.
Strengthen Pelvic Floor After Birth
In the previous sections, we looked at the various pelvic floor exercises that you must perform for moms-to-be. Is it essential to strengthen the pelvic floor after birth, and how can you do the same? After your delivery, the muscles of your pelvic floor and abdomen are stretched out, which is why incontinence is a common issue for a few weeks after childbirth as you heal. Experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction even after the healing period is your sign to visit your doctor and seek professional help for the same. Your doctor will give you a referral for therapy or help you with some pelvic floor exercises for the same.
Pelvic floor exercises for moms-to-be are essential to ensure the strength of your pelvic floor muscles. As we conclude this article on pelvic floor exercises for pregnant women, we hope that this article will help you know more than just the exercises for your pelvic floor muscles. In this guide on prenatal pelvic floor exercises, we have shared with you how pregnancy impacts your pelvic floor and why you must regularly perform these exercises.
Is it OK to do pelvic floor therapy while pregnant?
Yes, it is OK to do pelvic floor therapy while you are pregnant. You can start the same in your first trimester.
When should you start doing pelvic floor exercises in pregnancy?
You should start performing pelvic floor exercises even before pregnancy. There is no specific time when you must start doing these exercises. You can begin them as early as you want, as they have no side effects.
How do I know if my pelvic floor is weak during pregnancy?
Some signs to know if you have a weak pelvic floor during pregnancy are:
- Loss of bladder control or incontinence
- Faecal incontinence
- Frequent urge to pee
- Vaginal dryness