5 Strength Building Pelvic Floor Exercises For Pregnancy, Postpartum and Parenting
You are doing it! Congratulations on your journey to parenthood! It's a time of incredible changes, both physically and emotionally. Whether you're pregnant, have recently given birth, or are well into the depths of parenting, prioritizing your pelvic health can help you recovery faster, restore proper core function and get you back to living the lifestyle you love and enjoy. It's a huge myth that moms are destined to "pee themselves" for the rest of their lives!
As a pre and postnatal corrective exercise specialist with additional specialization in the pelvic floor, I advocate safe, professionally guided and personalized pelvic floor strength training and pelvic floor stretches based on your body’s requirements. That's why I'm offering you the opportunity to arrange a brief, no-cost consultation with me before beginning any pelvic floor work or exercise programs. A knowledgeable fitness coach, with a specialization in pelvic floor and core can be pivotal in bolstering your strength, targeting the appropriate muscles, and guiding you toward your ultimate, empowered self.
Pelvic Floor Exercises Guide For Pregnancy, Postpartum and Parenting
How pelvic floor exercises help prepare your body for pregnancy and giving birth
Your pelvic floor is a fascinating group of muscles lining and supporting the bowl of the pelvis.They play a crucial role in supporting the weight of your growing baby and facilitating birth. Regular pelvic floor exercises help tone these muscles, making them stronger and more flexible, which can assist during labor and delivery. The key is to understand what your starting point is. Do you have any weaknesses? Does your pelvic floor hold tension? Are there any muscular imbalances from left to right or front to back?
We often think of the pelvic floor as one muscle responsible for stopping the flow of urine. It’s so much more involved than that! If you have been prescribed a regime of kegels without further investigation, you may be doing the exercises incorrectly, or worse yet, doing exercises that could actually be making your pelvic floor more susceptible to the changes of pregnancy, which could exasperate symptoms.
What strains and injuries can pelvic floor exercises help avoid during pregnancy and giving birth?
A weak pelvic floor can lead to issues like urinary incontinence, prolapse, incontinence, heaviness and pain. By consistently engaging in the correct training for your pelvic floor, you can prevent these complications and ensure a smoother pregnancy , postpartum and parenting experience.
The benefits of exercise for people who are pregnant and have just given birth
Incorporating pelvic floor workouts not only prepares your body for labor but also aids in faster postpartum recovery. It helps increase blood flow to the area, promoting healing, and reducing swelling. It also helps connect your pelvic floor to the entire rest of your inner core muscles which is essential for preventing other pregnancy related conditions and injuries like lower back pain, SIJ pain, pelvic girdle pain, and diastasis recti.
The importance of safety when exercising
When it comes to pregnancy and postpartum exercises, the number one thing most people are concerned with is safety. It's important to work with a specialist that is up to date on their research in this ever changing field of study. It's easy to take the blanket advice to "just do more kegels" when preparing for pregnancy. As I noted above, it's important to first perform a holistic assessment of your pelvic floor before taking that advice. Many of the same symptoms will arise for pelvic floor musculature that is too tight (hypertonic) as it does for pelvic floor muscles with low muscle tone. Without seeking the help of a trained pelvic floor therapist or pelvic floor fitness coach, it could be hard to know exactly what exercises are beneficial for you, personally.
The importance of taking time to relax and recover
Rest is just as important as exercise. Your body needs time to heal, especially after giving birth. Make sure to balance your pelvic floor strength training with adequate relaxation and recovery time. Another important thing to note is that your pelvic floor exercises should train your pelvic floor muscles through their full range of motion. This means that pelvic floor contractions should be coordinated with your breath and also given the change to rest or release in between sets or repetitions. A good pelvic floor trainer will cue both!
Now, let's dive into the 5 Strength Building Pelvic Floor Exercises that you can conveniently do from home! Before we begin, it’s important to understand the prep work for these exercises is understanding the foundation of diaphragmatic breathing. Without first understanding how proper breathing is related to your core and pelvic floor, you won’t be able to gain the full benefits or understanding of these exercises.
1. Kegel Contractions
How to do it:
Sit or lie down comfortably.
Tune into your diaphragmatic breath.
Inhale to prepare and exhale, contract the muscles that would both stop you from urinating and the muscles that would stop you from passing gas (without squeezing your glutes).
Hold for and extended exhale of 5 counts, then inhale and release fully.
Benefits: Strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, increasing support for the uterus and bladder.
Tips: Avoid holding your breath. Keep your buttocks, thighs, and abdomen relaxed.
2. Pelvic Tilts
How to do it:
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Tighten your abdominal muscles and push your lower back into the floor.
Hold for a few seconds, then relax.
Benefits: Improves core strength and stability, benefiting both the spine and the pelvic floor.
Tips: Ensure there's no pain. If any discomfort occurs, stop immediately.
3. Butterfly Stretch
How to do it:
Sit on the floor with souls of the feet together
Take a deep breath and on your inhale as well as the exhale, visualize your pelvic floor muscles stretching and relaxing out and downward. Try to keep the pelvic floor muscles relaxed as you stretch the muscles of the groin and inner thighs.
Benefits: hypertonic pelvic floor exercises and hypertonic pelvic floor stretches are great for women with overly tight pelvic floors. Helps in relieving tension and pain.
Tips: Go slow and focus on relaxation. Another trick to think about relaxing your jaw and tongue to help release the pelvic floor.
4. Deep Squats
How to do it:
Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
Lower yourself into a deep squat. If your heels don’t reach the ground, you may place a rolled up towels or blocks under your heels to make this more comfortable.
Hold for a few rounds of deep diaphragmatic breathing while visualizing your pelvic floor muscles stretching and relaxing out and downward
Benefits: Strengthens the entire lower body, opens the hips and lengthens the muscles of the pelvic floor.
Tips: Keep your spine straight. If there's knee pain, refrain from going too deep or use the suggested props. Stay connected to your breath and keep your pelvic floor muscles relaxed.
5. Child's Pose
How to do it:
Sit on your knees with toes tougher and knees wide apart.
Bend forward as you stretch to reach your arms out away from your body and sit back into your heels.
Practice deep diaphragmatic breathing while visualizing your pelvic floor muscles stretching and relaxing out and downward
Benefits: Stretches and relaxes the pelvic floor muscles, alleviate tightness in the hips and pelvic floor.,
Tips: Breathe deeply, staying connected to your breath. If you have any pain in the hips or knees, place a rolled towel between your butt and your heels or sit your butt up on a block.
Incorporating these pelvic floor exercises and stretches into your routine will significantly aid in your preparation for childbirth and postpartum recovery. As a trusted corrective exercise specialist and pelvic floor coach, my goal is to help you achieve a muscular system in the body that works in balance. This is to ensure you meet your personal goals as well as the physical demands of your daily life.
If you are looking for more tailored pelvic floor workouts guidance, always seek a qualified pelvic floor coach or physical therapist, or pelvic floor OT to address any specific concerns. Your body, your journey, and your baby are unique. No two pregnant or postpartum programs look alike, and with the right guidance, you can effortlessly meet the demands of pregnancy, postpartum and beyond. Your strength lies not just in your body but in your commitment to your well-being. Keep going, don't be ashamed to ask for help and take it one step at a time!
Hi I'm Coach Joanie
My goal is to assist expecting and new parents, guiding them towards a healthy parenting path. I utilize my expertise in pelvic floor exercises for pregnancy, postpartum and parenting to lessen the likelihood and severity of issues like pelvic floor injury and loss of strength. My specialized 24/7 courses start at $34 per month and are structured to provide the highest level of assistance. What's more, for a short period, I'm giving away a FREE consultation session to delve into your fitness goals during parenthood. To make a booking please click on the button in the menu above, I look forward to speaking with you!