Pelvic floor exercises are a terrific way to prepare for birth and prevent low back pain. They are also handy for helping to recover from a difficult birth or cesarean section, for helping to regain control after a vaginal tearing or episiotomy and increase sexual pleasure in your body with your partner.
This article is a guide to understanding why it’s important to learn pelvic floor exercises for pregnant women.
What Pelvic Floor Exercises Are
Pelvic floor exercises are a group of movements you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. They help prevent incontinence and other pelvic floor issues and are also great for improving sexual health.
The pelvic floor is the sling of muscles that supports your bladder, uterus, rectum, and urethra. When these muscles are strong, they keep everything in place so that you don’t leak urine or have bowel movements when you don’t want them to happen.
If they become weak or damaged through childbirth or overuse (like sitting on your tailbone), you can develop problems like urinary incontinence or bladder infections.
Pelvic floor exercises for pregnant women can help prevent these issues by strengthening your bladder, uterus, and rectum muscles. They also improve sexual health by improving blood flow to the area—which makes for better orgasms!
Preparing mat for pelvic floor exercises | Image from Pexels
How to Do Pelvic Floor Exercises When Pregnant
Pelvic floor exercises for pregnant women are essential to keep your pelvic floor strong, but they can be hard to do because of pregnancy.
Here are some tips for doing pelvic floor exercises when pregnant:
Make sure you’re in a comfortable position
In pelvic floor exercises for pregnant women, you must be comfortable. You might want to try lying down on your back and putting your heels up on a chair or the edge of the bed or standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
You can also try sitting in a chair and putting both feet flat on the ground with your knees bent. The important thing is that whatever position you choose feels comfortable for you—something you can maintain for 10 minutes at a time.
Breathe deeply while doing the exercise
This will help relax your core muscles and ensure you do each lift correctly.
Get started by thinking about what part of your body needs strengthening
For example, if you’re having trouble with constipation, it’s important to focus on that area first; if it seems like other areas need tightening up (like around your butt), then include those too!
You don’t need to start with any particular type of exercise
They can all be done sitting or standing, standing on one foot or lying down, alone or with a partner—whatever is most comfortable for you at the time!
The best way to succeed is by starting small
Then building up from there. If you’re not used to exercising regularly or haven’t done pelvic floor training before, start with one set of 10 repetitions per day and gradually increase as your body adjusts to this new routine. Doing too much too soon can be counterproductive and make things worse over time rather than better!
It’s important not to force yourself into uncomfortable positions—if it hurts too much or feels like it’s not working, try something else until you find something that works for you!
Different Kinds of Pelvic Floor Exercises for Pregnant Women
Image source: iStock
There are many different kinds of pelvic floor exercises for pregnant women. Here are a few to try:
Squeezes are similar to Kegels but involve squeezing the muscles around your vagina or anus instead of your pelvic floor muscles. You can squeeze these muscles at any time—when you’re watching TV, sitting at your desk, or driving!
Pelvic tilts work the same way as Kegels, but they help strengthen the lower back muscles instead of your pelvic floor muscles.
To do a pelvic tilt, lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Then slowly roll your hips upward until they’re in line with your shoulders (but don’t lift them). Pause here for five seconds before lowering yourself back down slowly again. Repeat five times for one set; build up to three daily sets!
Pelvic rocking is one of the simple pelvic floor exercises for pregnant women that you can do anywhere. It involves moving your hips rockingly, from side to side and up and down.
Vaginal weights can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and increase blood flow to that area. These weights come in different sizes and consistencies, so choose one that feels right for you.
They’re also great if you have trouble keeping your legs together during physical therapy sessions because they force you to stay focused on your muscles while also providing resistance against gravity (which is helpful if you have weak lower body strength).
These exercises involve visualising your pelvic floor muscles working and receiving feedback on how well they contract (for example, through an electronic device). They can be performed anywhere but should be done thrice daily.
Kegels Exercise for Pregnant Women
Pelvic floor exercises for pregnant women | Image from Pexels
Kegels are one of the best ways to maintain pelvic floor health. These exercises involve contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, which can be done anywhere (sitting at your desk or walking around).
Kegels are particularly important for women who have had children, as they help prevent incontinence and other childbirth-related issues.
You can do Kegels anywhere by simply contracting your pelvic floor muscles as if you were trying to stop yourself from urinating. Hold this contraction for a few seconds, then release it. Do this 50 times per day for the best results!
What Happens If You Don’t Do Kegels While Pregnant
When you think about what happens when you don’t do Kegels, it’s easy to assume that it’s not such a big deal. But not exercising your pelvic floor muscles could potentially cause serious problems for your baby.
The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for helping to control the flow of urine through your urethra. If these muscles aren’t strong enough or too weak, they can lead to urinary incontinence. This means that there will be times when urine leaks out of your body without warning or even during sex (and yes, this can happen).
In addition to this issue being embarrassing and uncomfortable for both partners involved in sex (especially if they’re new), it can also lead to infections in the urinary tract and make things awkward when trying to hold onto an active child who doesn’t want anyone touching their diaper area just yet!
When to Start Kegel Exercise in Pregnancy
It depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy.
Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor exercises, are done to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles—the muscles that support your uterus, bladder, and rectum.
If you’re pregnant, you must keep those muscles strong because they’ll be supporting some extra weight for the next nine months or so. That’s why it’s important to start doing Kegels early in your pregnancy—before the baby bump starts getting big!
Even if you haven’t found out yet whether or not you’re expecting, it’s a good idea to start doing regular Kegels as soon as possible. That way, when it does happen, and those hormones start kicking in and making everything feel like it’s just… happening… you’ll already have those muscles strong enough to handle anything life throws at them!
It’s also important to keep up with Kegels after the baby comes because now more things are happening on top of all that extra weight! Keep those muscles strong, so they can continue supporting both mum-to-be and the new baby during this busy time in your life.
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Why Do Kegels While Pregnant
If you’re expecting a baby, it’s important to do your Kegels. If you’re not doing them already, here’s why you should start now:
- Kegels help in the birthing process. By doing them now, you’ll be more prepared for when your baby comes out, and you need to push him or her out of your body.
- Kegels will prevent urine leakage during pregnancy. If you don’t do Kegels while pregnant, it’s likely that you’ll experience some urine leakage while giving birth—and nobody wants that!
- Kegels can help prevent tearing during childbirth. If there’s any tearing during delivery, performing Kegels regularly can decrease the risk of this happening to you.
- Kegels can help prevent haemorrhoids during pregnancy (hooray!). Haemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure in your abdomen and pelvis due to pregnancy—which means they’re a common issue for women who have given birth before and those who are expecting their first child right now!
How Often to Do Kegels When Pregnant
There are a lot of questions about when to do Kegels and how often. You might have heard that you can do them once a day, twice a day, or as many times as you please. You can do them any time you want—but there are some considerations to remember.
If you’re pregnant, avoiding doing more than 10 Kegels at a time is best. Your body is already under a lot of pressure during this time, and too many Kegels could strain your pelvic floor muscles.
It’s also important not to overdo it: if you feel pain or discomfort while doing Kegels, stop immediately and rest for at least 30 minutes before trying again.
Pregnancy can affect the muscles, nerves and ligaments that hold up the bladder and uterus. It’s important to stay active during pregnancy, and pelvic floor exercises for pregnant women can help. It’s also crucial to know how your body changes and ensure you’re doing everything possible to keep your pelvic floor healthy.
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