Pelvic Floor…..Is It Important?
Have you ever seen those signs on the back of the toilet door demonstrating ways to strengthen your pelvic floor? And you just ignore it, wondering why you would ever need to do that? Well, I am here to tell you why and try to answer some of the common questions surrounding the topic.
What is my Pelvic Floor?
Your Pelvic Floor is a combination of muscles that stretch across the bottom of your abdomen, from your tail bone to your pubic bone. These muscles support your pelvic organs, including your uterus, bladder & bowel as well as help to stabilize the spine.
What Happens to Your Pelvic Floor During Pregnancy?
Throughout pregnancy and birth (Vaginally and Caesarean), your Pelvic Floor Muscles worker harder than normal due to the additional stress and load of your growing baby. In some instances they can be damaged from this increased load or during the birthing process so it is important to give them attention throughout the whole pregnancy.
But I am Not Pregnant, So Do I Need to Worry?
Yes! Pregnant or not, you can significantly benefit from exercising your pelvic floor. In fact, exercising these muscles even months to years before pregnancy can decrease the risk of damage to these muscles as well as speed up recovery following birth. A weak pelvic floor can also be a contributing factor to pelvic pain and low back pain and can lead to urinary incontinence.
Pelvic floor muscles can be weakened by many factors, some including:
- Not keeping them active
- Being pregnant and having babies
- Being overweight
- Persistent heavy lifting
- High impact exercise
- Long-term, persistent coughing (such as smoker’s cough, bronchitis, or asthma)
What Should I Be Doing? How Can I Strengthen My Pelvic Muscles?
Strengthening your pelvic floor is simple. There are gentle exercises you can include in your day-to-day life that make a huge impact.
Here are my Top 3 Pelvic Floor Exercises
1. Squeeze & Release
- Start by either sitting, standing or lying down
- Relax your thighs, buttocks, and abdomen muscles
- Tighten your pelvic floor by squeezing the pelvic muscles around your front and back passages, drawing the muscles up inside
- Try to complete 10 slow squeezes, relaxing in between.
2. Stopping & Starting
- Whilst on the toilet, squeeze your pelvic floor to stop mid urine stream.
- Repeat this by slowly squeezing and relaxing, having complete control of the stream.
3. Pelvic Tucks
- Lying on the ground with your knees bent and feet firmly on the floor.
- Relax your thighs, buttocks, and abdomen muscles.
- Tuck your pelvis / hips under, rounding from the bottom of your back.
- Tighten your pelvic floor by squeezing the pelvic muscles around your front and back passages, drawing the muscles up.
- Hold this position, starting at 10 seconds at a time.
- As you get better, build the time up. Aim for 30 second’s total.
If you are pregnant, please keep in mind that your body changes quite a lot during pregnancy, so working with a Physiotherapist can assist you in performing the exercises correctly and develop a program tailored to your individual needs which maximises the health benefits to you and your body.
If you would like to discuss more how I can help you with Pelvic Floor Exercises or any other symptoms related to your pregnancy please don’t hesitate to give the clinic a call. I’d be honoured to help you navigate this exciting and sometimes tricky journey.