Some people ask me why should I be doing pelvic floor exercises? Why all the fuss? Why during Pregnancy? Surely I'll be fine.
We have been conditioned to think that a little bit of urine leakage in life is normal. It might happen straight after birth, it might happen a few years after birth or it may not happen at all.
Urinary leakage is common but not normal! Pelvic Floor exercises can help prevent leakage but they do a lot more than just stop urine leaking! And you need to know the facts before you say it's not for me.
- The pelvic Floor muscles when strong along with the deep abdominal muscles give your pelvis strength and support leading to less lower back pain.
- Having strong pelvic floor muscles prior to going through trauma (labour) the stronger and more effective they will be after labour.
- Knowing how to strengthen, control and relax the pelvic floor gives your body a better understanding of how to use your pelvic floor muscles.
- Having a stronger resting tone of the muscles allows the bladder neck to be lifted and avoiding any leakage or minimising that heavy feeling down below during pregnancy.
- Your pelvic floor muscles help guide your baby into the birth canal so it’s in the best position for delivery. If these muscles are working well theoretically you should have a shorter second stag of labour and be less likely to need the intervention of forceps or a caesarean etc.
- PF exercises allow the muscles to stretch and increase their elasticity. As the muscles are more readily able to move and stretch, this can prevent trauma to the muscles and less tearing during childbirth especially during the crowning phase.
- Knowing how to perform a maximum contraction of the pelvic floor muscles allows for a deeper relaxation of the muscles. Following the theory of muscles relaxing the most after a maximum contraction, knowing how to turn on and off muscles allows you to relax the pelvic floor during childbirth when they need to be relaxed.
- Knowing how to get your pelvic floor muscles strong again allows your pelvis support to start exercising again.
- Strong pelvic floor muscles and supporting structures can keep your organs lifted to prevent prolapse and leakage.
- Sex - The pelvic floor muscles are very important in the sensations you feel during sex and can even help with turning you on by pumping blood to the clitoris for arousal. A rhythmic contraction of your pelvic floor muscles during orgasm can also intensify your orgasm.
- Pelvic Floor Muscle exercises are for life! They are a muscle just like any other in the body, if you don’t use it it’s not strong. By regularly strengthening your pelvic floor muscles in a structured functional way; exercises specifically and while doing your general duties during the day you are keeping these muscles strong and healthy for life. With healthy bladder and bowel habits to follow.
So now you know what else these muscles do, don't you think that it's better to start pelvic floor exercises whenever you can? If that means it's during your pregnancy when you are most aware of them, why not?
You don’t know how to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles? follow our program it’s been designed by a physiotherapist, it works and it’s structured and functional. More Info.
Dr Sarah Buckley. Epidurals: the real risks for mother and baby.
Mary O'Dwyer: Hold it mama.