When it comes to training the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy and after birth, I’m here to tell you, as a trained Ante/Postnatal Fitness Expert who keeps her education and skills fresh and up-to-date, things in recent years have most definitely changed.
Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles for postnatal women should be of paramount importance.
No news there.
Keeping your pelvic floor muscles in check during pregnancy is vital too.
Again, no surprises.
Stress incontinence (that’s where you when you laugh, cough, sneeze or do exercise and a bit of wee or poo comes out too), is quite common with 30% of new mums suffering with the condition for up to 3 months after birth.
I personally believe this figure is more like 50-60% though and because it’s such a taboo subject, there are a lot of women out there suffering in silence.
Extensive research and testing has been done in recent years to find out more about how the pelvic floor functions; how it becomes weakened; and what causes dysfunction within it.
Let me explain in a little more detail why my approach to pelvic floor education is different:
- WHEN YOU LEAEK, IT’S OFTEN WITH MOVEMENT
When someone suffers the embarrassment of leakage of urine or faeces, it’s also often associated with movement.
This could be just in day-to-day activities eg when you run up/downstairs without thinking, you chase after your toddler/baby, you pick up a heavy object too quickly, you do exercise and notice you leak etc.
We now train the pelvic floor muscles WITH movement.
- FULL-BODY APPROACH
So, if we take the findings from above where we know that stress incontinence is linked to not just laughing/coughing/sneezing, but also when we move our body, then you’ll be pleased to know that nowadays we’re adopting a full-body approach to exercise and the pelvic floor.
Doing movement-based exercise which incorporates an involuntary bit of work for pelvic floor muscles during movement, means it’s a win-win, isn’t it?
It’s been proven that some exercises actually work the pelvic floor without you having to even think about your lady bits because the pelvic floor switches on instinctively.
That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?
- YOUR BUM MIGHT JUST HOLD THE ANSWER
There’s definitely a connection between strengthening your glutes (that’s your bum) and strengthening the pelvic floor and/or ridding yourself of pelvic floor dysfunction.
Put simply, the stronger your bum, the stronger your back. And, the stronger your core, you guessed it – the stronger your pelvic floor.
The way we train the pelvic floor nowadays also means there’s a bit of booty work going off too.
What’s not to like there, eh? We sit down for the majority of our day, and unfortunately, we’re harnessing a generation of ineffective butts and tailbone tuckers.
It’s because of this position we’re sat in that, put simply, it means your pelvic floor is tight, weak and loose, because your tailbone is stuck in a position closer to your pubic bone than it should be eg ‘tucked under’.
However, if you build your butt, your tailbone will move further away from your pubic bone (making the pelvic floor also more ‘flexible’), and hey presto – your pelvic floor functions much, much better.
- SQUEEZE YOUR LADY BITS 100 TIMES A DAY AND YOUR PROBLEMS WILL DISAPPEAR
Over-doing it on the old school ‘squeeze and release’ and ‘draw up and hold’ Kegel exercises isn’t necessarily the answer.
Shock horror, I know!
Let me explain: if there’s dysfunction in your pelvic floor muscles like a) stress incontinence, b) your pelvic floor’s tight through constant sitting, c) you’ve had a prolapse, or d) perhaps there’s asymmetry in the muscles following childbirth etc, then squeezing your lady bits as though your life depended on it, is pretty much pointless.
The same goes for exercising the pelvic floor during pregnancy too.
This is because whilst doing a ‘squeeze’ without putting the pelvic floor muscles in a more optimum position, it’s making the pelvic floor tighter and tighter (and contrastingly, also weaker and weaker).
What the pelvic floor needs during pregnancy and after birth, is a good old stretch out to remain ‘flexible’ to enable your body to facilitate childbirth, and it’s your bum that wants the work out as explained above.
If you have any questions about anything I’ve covered there, do get in touch.
I’m more than happy to help, as you know.
If you’ve had a baby and have problems with your pelvic floor and have tried everything so far to fix it…
…why not find out more about: Your Pelvic Matters– a revolutionary training exercise class for new mums who want to get real about their pelvic floor.
Your Pelvic Matters A different approach, for a very different result.
Don’t suffer in silence any more.
Now’s the time to get rid of pain, dysfunction and get you leading life as you intended it.