Maintaining a strong pelvic floor is important during pregnancy will help avoid pelvic floor disfunction during pregnancy (which I had and trust me you do not want).
What causes these conditions you might be asking? Well its the pregnancy hormone relaxin that softens the ligaments and with the added weight from the baby it can increase pressure in the pelvic region. As your uterus expands and you gain weight it causes more pressure on your pelvic floor.
Birthing your child vaginally can also impact your pelvic floor. Think about it, you have a giant head passing though a small vaginal wall. If you have a natural birth, give yourself time for your pelvic floor to recover, and know that it might be different forever.
Pelvic Floor disfunction can lead to postpartum issues like painful sex, urinary or fecal retention, and urinary or fecal incontinence. Birthing a heavy baby, 9 plus pounds can increase these problems, the added pressure and weight causes more issues down there.
Performing Kegels throughout pregnancy and soon after the baby is born is the easiest and most effective way to prevent pelvic floor dysfunction. I know it's hard to figure out how to do them so here are some instructions on how to preform them properly.
Squeeze the pelvic floor as if attempting to stop the flow of urine (do not perform this exercise during urination unless it is just briefly to learn how to isolate pelvic floor muscles).
Squeeze, relax, and repeat.
It can be done quickly with high reps or slowly with each contraction held for several breaths.
A common mistake is squeezing the glutes instead of the pelvic floor.
Think of “zipping” up through your inner thighs and your lower abdominals. This ensures you are engaging the right muscles.
Simply exhaling during the exertion of each exercise can allow women to remain active and strong throughout pregnancy and postpartum. I recommend you do this even if you never been pregnant. Remain active throughout pregnancy, including exercises to maintain a strong core and pelvic floor, for an array of health benefits including a decreased risk of diastasis recti and other pelvic floor dysfunctions.
Water exercises is Alsop a great low impact option for pregnant women. Plus, you are so buoyant its can provide relaxation and relief during the 3rd trimester. Prenatal exercises, like the ones I provide, is a proven method to strengthen the pelvic floor, decrease medical intervention during delivery, and help with postpartum recovery.
Postpartum moms, its important for you to start back slowly and have medical clearance to return back to exercises. The recommended waiting time is 6-8 weeks before returning to exercise, but if you feel you need to do something then take baby for walks, starting off with a few blocks before venturing out for longer walks. And always walk with a friend, you will be shocked how winded you can get. I do not recommend joining any postpartum exercise program until your Doctor clears you for exercise and listen to your body. Rushing back to exercise will only prolong your recovery period.
Remember, every mom has her own experience with pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Join me for our weekly fitness classes geared towards moms.