Hello lovely mamas! Today, we’re diving into a topic that might not be the first thing on your maternity leave checklist but is incredibly important: pelvic floor exercises for after pregnancy. As a postnatal fitness instructor, I’m here to guide you through the ins and outs of keeping your pelvic floor in top shape.
Understanding the pelvic floor
Let’s start with the basics of your pelvic floor. It is part of your core muscles along with those in your lower back, hips and stomach. Its main job is supporting your organs and ensuring everything stays where it should be. Due to their role in supporting these major organs, injury to the pelvic floor muscles can lead to a number of problems including urinary stress incontinence and rectal incontinence.
After pregnancy, it’s crucial to give your pelvic floor muscles a little extra love because they have been working super hard under the extra weight of the baby.
Benefits of pelvic floor exercises after pregnancy
Now, why bother with pelvic floor exercises? Well, here are just a few reasons:
- Improved bladder control – pregnancy and childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leading to urinary incontinence. Pelvic floor exercises can help strengthen these muscles, reducing the likelihood of bladder leaks.
- Faster recovery – pelvic floor exercises aid in the recovery of the pelvic muscles after childbirth, enhanced blood circulation to the pelvic area can promote healing and reduce discomfort.
- Enhanced sexual function – strengthening the pelvic floor can contribute to improved sexual satisfaction by increasing sensitivity and promoting better muscle control during intimacy.
- Prevention of prolapse – pelvic organ prolapse is a condition where one or more pelvic organs, such as the bladder, uterus, or rectum, bulge into the vaginal space. Pelvic floor exercises can help prevent or alleviate this condition.
- Core stability – the pelvic floor is a crucial part of the core muscles. Strengthening these muscles contributes to overall core stability, which is important for posture and back support.
When to start pelvic floor exercises
You might be wondering when to kick off this pelvic party. The answer?
Generally, the sooner the better. After giving birth you can essentially start them as soon as you feel ready to but perhaps give yourself a minimum of one day off!
Pelvic floor exercises – aka kegels
The main pelvic floor exercise is kegels. Picture them as your pelvic floor’s gym routine. And as with any good gym routine, it is important to practice pelvic floor exercises in isolation as well as functional ones so that our pelvic floor is prepared for normal life, for example when we move, cough and jump.
Pelvic floor exercise routine for a strong pelvic floor after pregnancy:
- Slow twitch kegel – hold for 10 seconds, repeat three times.
- Fast twitch kegel – hold for 1-3 seconds, repeat ten times.
Repeat this kegel routine three times a day.
To make these pelvic floor exercises functional, practice them as part of other exercises and think about incorporating your core into the exercises as well. For example
- While in chair sit against the wall.
- While in the standing up phase of a squat or lunge.
- Simply while walking (make sure you are standing up tall with good posture).
Things to note:
- Take a good breath in, then do a kegel on the exhale.
- Ensure you fully relax your pelvic floor muscles in between each rep.
- The best way to ensure you do your pelvic floor exercises is to build it into your daily routine (habit stacking).
To sum it all up, pelvic floor exercises following pregnancy are your ticket to a happy pelvic. So, let’s make pelvic health a priority, because there is nothing less funny then peeing when laughing!
If you think I have missed anything out, or if you have learnt something on your journey, pop it on the comments below.
No sweat mama. You’ve got this <3