Did you know the average pregnancy bump weighs around 6 kg? Therefore the pressure is building on your pelvic floor muscles before your baby even arrives! Pushing your baby out further weakens these muscles. This isn’t good news for later life, which is why it’s important to do your pelvic floor exercises now! It’s a really important layer of muscles, as it gives you control over when you empty your bladder or bowel. Don’t delay, start those exercises today.
Problems associated with weak pelvic floor muscles
A weak pelvic floor…
- May mean you leak a little wee when you cough, sneeze, laugh too hard or exercise. This is known as stress incontinence. Who wants to wee when they laugh?!
- Can also lead to less sensitivity in your vagina – making sex less satisfying!
Benefits of pelvic floor exercises
Strong pelvic floor muscles…
- Will support the extra weight of your pregnancy bump
- Help with post-birth healing, as there is extra blood flowing to the area.
How to do pelvic floor exercises
- Close your anus as if you’re trying to avoid breaking wind or preventing a bowel movement.
- At the same time, draw up your vagina as if you are gripping a tampon, and your urethra as if to stop the flow of urine.
- Do this quickly at first, tightening and releasing the muscles immediately.
- Then do it slowly, holding the tightening for as long as possible before you relax
How often should you do these exercises?
It depends on whether you are pregnant, or you’ve already had your baby.
- If pregnant: Once a day (8-10 reps), focusing on the release – this is what you will need to do when giving birth. So, the more practice you do now, the more you will recognise the sensation and be able to repeat it.
- After the birth of your baby: Three times a day (8-10 reps each time), focusing on the hold – it’s all about building your muscle strength back up!
A bonus benefit…
Learning to relax your pelvic floor in pregnancy will help you recognise the sensation. This can then be done when giving birth. Helping to reduce tiredness; and even the possibility of tearing or an episiotomy! Well worth the effort, wouldn’t you agree?