5 Tips to Effectively Strengthen your Pelvic Floor in Pregnancy
- Understand what muscles make up your "Pelvic Floor" (more on this below).
- See a Pelvic Floor Physio to make sure you're correctly activating & releasing your pelvic floor muscles (see "What to expect when you see a Pelvic Floor Physio").
- Attend Prenatal Pilates Classes and use this time to focus on pelvic floor activation.
- Make your pelvic floor exercises a daily priority. Whether you've just found out your pregnant, or into your second or third trimester, scheduling daily reminders to focus on your pelvic floor muscles (2-3 times a day) is the best way to effectively strengthen these muscles (we've listed some specific exercises below).
- Maintain a high fibre diet & drink plenty of water to avoid constipation & straining on the toilet.
What muscles make up your pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and ligaments that support the bladder, uterus and bowel.
What exercises should I be doing to strengthen my pelvic floor?
- Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles (this will feel like you're pulling up from your vagina & anus) for 1 second & release. Relax for 3-5 seconds in between each repetition to ensure you are fully relaxing the muscles. Repeat this 5 times.
- Activate your pelvic floor muscles & hold for 3-5 seconds before releasing. Relax for 5 seconds before repeating this 5 times. Count out loud your 3-5 seconds to ensure you're not holding your breath!
- Practice this activation in your pilates movements - eg a hip bridge, focus on activating your pelvic floor muscles, lifting up into your bridge, holding for 3-5 seconds and releasing back down.
How to know if you're doing your pelvic floor exercises correctly?
- You can feel the squeeze & lift sensation during the exercise, as well as a letting go sensation as you relax the muscles
- You're able to keep your abdominal, buttock and thigh muscles relaxed
- You can breath & talk during the exercises