Great Pelvic Floor Exercises
The pelvic floor muscles are a sling of muscles attached to the bottom rim of the pelvis .They attach to the pubic bone anteriorly (front) and the coccyx posteriorly (back).The pelvic floor muscles support your pelvic organs and help maintain good bladder and bowel function as well as guiding the baby’s head during birth .These openings pass through the pelvic floor -the urethra , the vagina and the anus. When you contract your pelvic floor muscles these openings will tighten and you should feel that your pelvic organs are lifting up higher inside you.
The pelvic floor muscles are under enormous strain during the pregnancy and have to stretch to allow delivery of your baby. Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to problems of bladder and bowel control, allow pelvic floor organs to sag ( prolapse and reduce sexual pleasure ).Strengthening exercises are therefore very important both before and after you have your baby . Signs of weak pelvic floor muscles include stress, incontinence ( leaking of urine when you cough , sneeze or laugh ),inability to keep a tampon in place and vaginal flatulence. One in three women who have had a baby develop some degree of incontinence.
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing in and pulling up as if to stop yourself from urinating or passing wind.
- You can do this lying down with your knees bent up and feet flat on the floor ,sitting upright in a chair , or standing with your feet comfortably apart.
- Count how many of these contractions of your pelvis you can do in a row until your muscles feel tired . Each contraction should feel as strong as the first one. This number as the first one. The number of contractions is the starting point for your exercise programme.
- Hold each contraction as long as you can.
- Rest for about 4 seconds in between each contraction.
- Aim to do these exercises 3-6 times a day ( if possible ). To make it easier to remember ,choose something that you will be doing every day to remind you. For example ,brushing your teeth, flushing the toilet , during washing up or pushing the grocery trolley.
- A good goal to aim for is doing 10 contractions in a row , holding each contraction for 10 seconds.
- REMEMBER IF YOU HAVE CONCERNS RE- YOUR PELVIC FLOOR DURING PREGNANCY OR POST YOIUR BIRTH SEE A PREGNANCY /POST NATAL PHYSIOTHERAPIST