Prenatal classes: pelvic floor exercises
Most pregnant women are probably hearing how important it is to have a strong core muscle. If you have never come across core stability exercises, Pilates, Yoga and are pregnant for the first time, it is not easy to understand and start to strengthen the muscle. Many pregnant women hear about the pelvic floor muscles and the Kegel exercise, but not many are told where they are, how to find them, and most importantly, how to train them.
So let’s keep it simple!
What is the pelvic floor?
They are a sling of muscles that sits under the bladder and runs from the base of the spine (coccyx) to the pubic bone in the front.
What do they do?
The main purpose of the pelvic floor muscles is to support your organs and help improve your bladder / bowel control and improve or prevent any leakage.
Your pelvic floor muscles relax when you contract your bladder to let urine out.
Why are they important for pregnant women and women who have children?
The pelvic floor muscles can weaken during pregnancy as they relax from the weight of the baby and a hormone called relaxin that softens the connective tissue in the pelvic structures in preparation for delivery. During labor, vaginal delivery can further weaken or stretch some of the supporting structures of the pelvis.
Can I do anything to help protect my pelvic floor from weakening?
Yes, start your pelvic floor exercises right away!
How do I know that I am really working my pelvic floor muscles?
There are two ways to check that you are contracting the pelvic floor correctly:
While going to the bathroom, you can try to stop the flow of urine, if you can, then you are contracting your pelvic floor muscles properly, but don’t stop the flow of urine every time you go to the bathroom. This is a good way to see if you are exercising the correct muscles, but it can cause bladder problems if you test more than once every fortnight. Remember this is a test and you should not exercise your pelvic floor muscle while urinating.
You can also feel if the pelvic floor muscle is contracting by inserting one or two fingers into the vagina while bathing or showering. Squeeze your muscles so they clench your fingers.
How often should I do my exercises?
Practice five pelvic floor exercise contractions five times a day
There are two types of pelvic floor exercises; low shrinkage and fast shrinkage. It is important that you do the slow contraction first and then the fast contraction each time you exercise your pelvic floor muscles.
Prepare to exercise:
Sit on a chair / toilet seat / toilet seat. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor and your legs are slightly apart:
To perform the slow twitch exercises:
1. Close and stretch the muscles around the rear passage as if you are trying to stop the wind. Make sure you don’t contract your glute muscles while doing this.
2. Now close and stretch the muscles around the vagina, as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine.
3. Hold your breath for a count of five, breathing normally and trying not to hold your breath.
4. Relax slowly and release.
5. Repeat five times in total.
6. When you can repeat five contractions over five seconds, begin holding the position for ten seconds, increasing one or two seconds each time.
To perform the fast twitch exercises:
1. Lift your pelvic floor muscles as before.
2. Hold for a second and relax.
3. Repeat five to ten times or until your muscles feel tired.
If you are doing slow twitch exercises and you find your muscles “ loosening up ” too quickly and you can’t hold on to a count of five, then hold them for as long as you can.
When performing pelvic floor exercises, it is important NOT to:
1. Squeeze your buttocks together.
2. Bring your knees together.
3. Hold your breath.
4. Lift shoulder / eyebrows / toe up.
5. Do the exercises while urinating.
If you do any of the above actions, you are not contracting your muscles properly.
Any other benefits of doing these exercises.
Yes! For women, strong pelvic floor muscles can also mean greater sensitivity during sex and stronger orgasms.