Pelvic Floor Exercises During Pregnancy

Pregnancy may be the first time you have ever heard of the pelvic floor. The truth is it’s always been there, you didn’t spontaneously grow one when the egg was fertilised.

But what is the pelvic floor and why is it so important?

A pelvic floor is a group of muscles that sit like a bowl in your pelvis. The purpose of these muscles is to support your pelvic organs from underneath, keep you in control of your bladder and bowels, and also play an important role in sexual pleasure. The reason these muscles become especially important in pregnancy is that your pelvic floor is having to work harder than ever before. That uterus with a placenta, amniotic fluid and baby inside is not light.

So how would you know if you have a weak pelvic floor?

A weak pelvic floor can present in 2 main ways, it’s either lazy or it’s super tight. A lazy pelvic floor will be a thin muscle with no oomph. This means the muscle doesn’t have the strength to give any support or control. You may find you have to rush to the toilet or you leak when you sneeze. Maybe you start getting a heavy, dragging sensation down below at the end of the day.

A super tight pelvic floor will be a thick rigid muscle, trying so hard to keep up but without the strength to do it. Telling signs can be constipation or feeling like you aren’t fully emptying after going for a wee or poo. You may be getting pelvic or low back pain because of the constant tension in the muscle.

That’s great, but what can I do about it?

The aim is to get trampoline-like pelvic floor muscles, that is as strong as The Rock’s biceps but as flexible as a toddler’s hips. To achieve this we need to do pelvic floor muscle training. We can train this muscle just like any other muscle in the body.

A Pregnancy MOT provides a detailed assessment to see how your body is adapting to pregnancy. A treatment plan tailored to your needs can then be made to get you fit for birth. If you would like to book in then please get in touch.

Postnatal return to sport

Women who were very active before and even during pregnancy can be quite surprised at the effect birth has on the body. A Mummy MOT is about assessing where you are starting from and then creating a realistic rehab plan for a successful return to your sport of choice.

You can rehab from pregnancy and birth just like you would from any other injury. It’s just these injuries have special considerations and will be unlike any other injury you’ve had. That’s why having support from a specialist is key to a safe return.

What time frames are we looking at?

This very much depends on what you are looking to return to and the extent of your injuries. You may have had your GP “sign you off” at your 6-8 week check. This is to sign you off as medically fit for general life, it is not a return to sport check. As a general rule, the earliest we would look to return to weight training is 8 weeks and low-impact running is 3 months, however, for many, it is longer.

How can I return safely?

Education and advice – optimising lifestyle factors to ensure you are fuelling your body well enough to cope with the demands of exercise will speed up recovery and prevent injury.

Manual therapy – hands-on treatment can help to reduce tension and facilitate healing of the effects of pregnancy and birth to give your body the ability to function well.

Rehab Programme

  • Reconnect – We start with optimising the way you breathe and how you coordinate your deep core muscles. We start creating a balanced pelvic floor that is strong, but also flexible. This creates a strong foundation to build on once the acute healing has happened.
  • Realign – We want you to start putting the deep core into practice with whole-body movements, coordinating with other major muscle groups. Also starting to develop flexibility throughout your body.
  • Rebuild – This is where we start to push our strength and would be started once all acute healing from birth had taken place at the earliest. We start building weights into your programme and pushing the deep core to take more load.
  • Restored – By this stage we have good strength so we can start introducing impact, and building plyometrics into your programme. It becomes more sport specific, looking in detail at what your body is going to require from you when you return.

We believe anything is possible for postnatal women with the right guidance and plan. If you would like support with your return to sport then book your Mummy MOT today.