Pregnancy should be the most exciting time of a woman’s life – if not the most exhausting – but it puts a whole load of pressure on body, from the back and hips, to the bladder and pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor is a sling of muscles, ligaments and thin tissues that stretch from your pubic bone at the front of your body, to the base of your spine at the back.
If you’ve ever had kids and jumped on a trampoline, you’ll know exactly where your pelvic floor is.
It has to stretch in response to weight gain, ie, when there’s a whole other person growing in your body, and, of course, it’s a muscle so it needs to be worked in order for it to work.
The pelvic floor supports your bladder and uterus and helps to control things when you pee, which is why it’s so important to keep them in good working order!
Being pregnant places a lot of stress on the pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to weakness in that area before the baby is born, it can be affected from as early as 12 weeks.
How will pelvic floor exercises help me?
If you start pelvic floor exercises early, and keep doing them throughout pregnancy, it can really help keep the muscles tight and working as they should. Your midwife should be able to show you the best way to do them if you’re not sure.
How do I do pelvic floor exercises?
It’s actually quite easy to fit them into your normal day.
Sit, stand or lay in a comfy position, then squeeze and lift your pelvic floor muscles. It should feel like you’re trying to stop yourself peeing and passing wind at the same time. (Always glamorous is pregnancy).
Hold this for 10 seconds if you can, then relax for a few seconds and repeat. Aim to do 10 contractions three to four times a day.
You need to squeeze and lift without pulling in your upper tummy, which is above the belly button, squeezing your legs together or holding your breath!
How long for?
It’s thought that around 8 weeks will give the best results, but ideally you should do it throughout your entire pregnancy, as if you stop, the muscles can lose their strength again, especially as the baby gets bigger and heavier.
The longer you do them, the quicker they recover after birth. And the better your pelvic muscles will be if you decide to have anymore babies!
For more information on how to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and how to avoid incontinence. Visit this guide from HARTMANN Direct:- https://www.hartmanndirect.co.uk/information-centre/how-to-avoid-incontinence-with-lifestyle-choices/