How To Have A Healthy Pelvic Floor Before And After Pregnancy
Your pelvic floor sits at the bottom of your abdomen. It is the band of muscles that supports your uterus, bladder and bowel. Among many other things it gives you the option of “holding it in” if you need to pee, poo or pass wind and you don’t want to. Pelvic floor health is important for women of all ages and stages. It plays a part in your overall health throughout your life. It is especially important if you are pregnant or have just had a baby but you really do have every reason to look after your pelvic floor in general. For example – did you know that a strong pelvic floor can result in more enjoyable sexual intercourse?
As with all exercise regimes, there are different techniques and principles which you can try. If you have any pelvic floor or incontinence concerns you can work with your GP and a physiotherapist to determine which types of exercises will benefit you the most.
There are some common mistakes that can happen for women when they are attempting their pelvic floor exercises. Holding your breath is one of those things and it is not recommended. In other cases, women struggle to master the art of the “pulling up” motion and mistake it for a pushing down motion which can actually cause harm to the pelvic floor and surrounding areas.
Many women experience issues with their pelvic floor long before they have been pregnant or given birth. They may struggle with the muscles that help control the passing of urine and it can lead to leaking which can be very emotionally and physically distressing. Pelvic floor issues can also result in constipation and lower back pain.
There are so many benefits to having a healthy pelvic floor before you become pregnant. Exercising those muscles gives you the best opportunity for them to stand up to the damage that can be caused during pregnancy. This potential damage is due to the extra strain and weight that results from carrying a baby. In some cases, a healthy pelvic floor can also be the reason that you avoid injury after you deliver your baby. During a vaginal birth, the muscles of the vagina experience high levels of stretching and pressure and a Caesarean birth is a surgical procedure which can severely weaken the abdominal muscles also.
The benefits of a healthy pelvic floor after you have given birth are endless. It can help you return to an active lifestyle if that is something you enjoyed pre-pregnancy. It can also make sneezing and jumping on a trampoline a lot less eventful than they might otherwise prove to be.
A healthy pelvic floor will make exercise a lot more comfortable. However, after giving birth your pelvic floor exercises will be very different to what you are used to doing. The vagina and all of its muscles have undergone significant trauma and for this reason, the priority is recovery. Apart from the general aches and pains associated with giving birth a woman may have experienced a perineal tear or graze which requires further healing. She may require assistance and guidance from her care team to restore the pelvic floor back to it’s former health.
Pelvic floor health is extremely important and the good news is that you can do your exercises on the train, at your desk in work or in the hairdressers and nobody will even know.
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.loveofliving.ie.