Looking after your pelvic floor should be a key consideration for all women – especially mums and it is surprisingly easy to do once you understand how to do it. And at The Healthy Mummy, we are passionate about raising awareness about Pelvic Floor health with all women.
You will also find that our postnatal exercise routines in The Healthy Mummy app ensure that you are not putting undue pressure on your pelvic floor and after working out to these – as well as having a very effective workout, you will also come away with a new appreciation of taking care of your pelvic floor when exercising.
It is no surprise that the pelvic floor is compromised after pregnancy but the good news is that there is plenty you can do to improve its function and avoid incontinence and vaginal prolapse.
It is also vital that you optimise your pelvic floor recovery and strength before overloading it with other exercises. It can take three months or more for these important muscles to redevelop their strength post-baby so remember to take it easy.
Tips for a healthy pelvic floor
- Perform quality Pelvic Floor strengthening exercises three times per day
- Include Pelvic Floor in your general fitness routine
- Avoid any exercise or activity in the home that strains your pelvic floor, in particular, high impact, heavy lifting and anything that makes you strain or push down on your pelvic floor.
- And always recruit your pelvic floor before you lift, perform an exercise or an activity that challenges your bladder control such as when you cough, laugh or sneeze
Pelvic floor long hold exercise
- The pelvic floor needs endurance to support your bladder and bowel all day every day, and power to quickly provide that extra control when you cough, laugh or sneeze. Here is an excellent excellent exercise to cross train the pelvic floor – perform 3 sets daily to strengthen your pelvic floor.
- Sitting or standing, lengthen your spine and relax your neck and shoulders
- Visualise the muscular sling running from your pubic bone to your tail bone.
- Breathing naturally, draw upwards and inwards around your back passage as though you’re are trying to avoid passing wind. Now bring that lift through to the front as though you are trying to stop the flow when you are going to the toilet.
- Hold this lift as high and as firmly as you can. Breathe normally and check that all other muscles especially your buttocks, hands and feet are relaxed.
- The aim is to gradually increase the length of time you can hold your pelvic floor, say from three breaths initially to five or even 10 breaths eventually. It is really important to completely relax your pelvic floor in between each lift for as long as you held the contraction.
Repeating three to five times is excellent.
How to tell if the exercise you are doing is too much for your pelvic floor
You will know the exercise is too much for your pelvic floor and thus you should decrease the intensity if, whilst performing the exercise, you notice:
- you are bearing down rather than lifting your pelvic floor
- loss of bladder control or bladder leakage
- heaviness or pressure
- You are unable to feel or engage your pelvic floor.
If you have any concerns about your Pelvic Floor strength or function then the best advice is to visit a women’s health and continence physiotherapist who can offer specific advice.