What is it?
Essentially, the pelvic floor is a layered muscle that keeps your important pelvic organs – the uterus, bowel, bladder, rectum or top of the vagina – in the correct place. Pregnancy and childbirth increase the strain on these muscles.
The Pelvic floor muscle carries extra weight while you are pregnant. Like any muscle group you need to work at it to keep it strong and functioning at its best.
Weak pelvic floor muscles may make it harder for you to control your bladder, especially in your second and third trimesters. That’s because a weak pelvic floor makes it harder for you to squeeze the muscles to prevent urine from escaping.
You may accidentally leak a little wee when you cough, sneeze or exercise (stress incontinence). It also means that your bowel, bladder and womb (uterus) aren’t as well supported
It all sounds very delightful right?
What can you do to help?
Pelvic floor exercises
- You want to be using the muscles you would use to stop yourself mid wee. Draw your vagina upwards like you’re gripping a tampon or stopping a wee with your muscles.
- Practice! Do this quickly to begin with, tightening and immediately releasing the muscles. Then do it slowly, holding the contractions for as long as you can before you relax. Try to hold for 10 seconds.
- Repeat 5-10 times
- You can do them anywhere, watching TV, laying in bed, in the que at the supermarket check out!
- The Squeezy app is a handy little tool to have on your phone if you need a prompt.
Building strength in your pelvic floor muscles can help to:
Support the extra weight of pregnancy.
Protect you from leaking wee while you’re pregnant and after your baby is born.
Heal the area between your anus and vagina (perineum) after vaginal birth.
Help your pelvis recover from birth. This is especially helpful if you’ve had pelvic problems such as SPD.
Make for a more satisfying sex life, by increasing sensation and making it more likely you’ll have orgasms during sex.
In the long term, it can also help to prevent a prolapse, which happens when your womb, bowel or bladder sag down and push against the walls of your vagina.
Long and short of it is, it is worth doing, in the long run your body will thank you. My pelvic floor survived baby number one quite well but baby number two is a different story, you won’t catch me on a bouncy castle that’s for sure!
Happy Squeezing ladies!!