Part 2 of 5: An excerpt from the eBook
A Pelvic Health Physiotherapist’s Perspective: Prepare Your Pelvic Floor for Birth
by Brittany Klingmann
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The Pelvic FloorMuscles in Pregnancy
What is their role?
The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that make up the bottom of the bowl of the pelvis. These muscles have many jobs:
- Control of bowel and bladder
- Support pelvic organs
- Support the pelvis
- Sexual functions including arousal and orgasm
As you can imagine then, staying strong though pregnancy can be tremendously helpful. The 2019 Canadian Guidelines for Physical Activity throughout Pregnancy recommends, in the absence of any contraindications, that exercise should be prioritized. Accumulating at least 150minutes of moderate intensity activity accumulated over a minimum of 3 days and preferably most days. Including both aerobic activity and resistance/strength exercise. Exercise can challenge the pelvic floor muscles by keeping them strong and responsive through your pregnancy.
If you have any questions about how your exercise should change throughout pregnancy, a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist can discuss modifications to suit your body’s needs.
Throughout the majority of your pregnancy it can be helpful to learn how to stay connected to and use these deep pelvic muscles. As your body grows and changes, it can also feel harder to connect with and use the abdominal muscles, and you may experience heaviness or pressure in your vulvar region. But staying connected to this group of muscles can help you stay confident in your changing body.
Getting to know your Pelvic Floor
The Pelvic Floor Muscles
As discussed above, these muscle make upthe bottom of the bowl of the pelvis. They are very cool because they operate reflexively without our conscious awareness most of the time. They tighten when we cough or sneeze so we don’t leak urine, they relax so we can empty our bowel or bladder, and they act as a trampoline constantly responding to our bodies needs during exercise.
Sometimes this reflexive rhythm can be disrupted, but we can consciously become aware of these muscles and this can help us through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum recovery.
The Deep Core
While the pelvic floor muscles make up the bottom of the pelvis, they don’t work in isolation. They are part of a group of muscles that make up our deep core.Learning to connect with this group can help you develop awareness of contracting (doing kegels), as well as relaxing (reverse kegels).
As you approach the end of your pregnancy, it will become more important to emphasize the relaxing piece.
MPT, Young Kempt Physiotherapy
Disclaimer: All the material contained in this ebook, in whole or in part, is provided for educational and informational purposes only. No responsibility can be taken for any results or outcomes from the use of this material. While every attempt has been made to provide information that is both accurate and effective, the author does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy or use/misuse of this information.