Pregnancy f—, I mean, messes, your body.
One thing many of us don’t hear enough about, until it’s too late, is the importance of pelvic floor exercises.
The pelvic floor muscles hold the pelvic organs in place, we’re talking bladder, rectum and uterus. You can feel the pelvic floor muscles in action if you squeeze as if your preventing yourself from urinating. Click here for a good visual.
Now, that you know what they are, you’re next thoughts might be, is a weak pelvic floor causing:
- pain during sexual activity
- week bladder, aka urinary incontinence
- lower back pain
At one point or another, I could have checked off all of the above. After countless visits to gastroenterologist, rheumatologist, chiropractor and a slew of tests, I finally found salvation with a pelvic floor specialized physical therapist at Duffy & Bracken.
If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about pelvic floor exercises you can do during your pregnancy. The more you do while you are pregnant, the better off you’ll be once the baby is out. (Did you know in France physical therapy is part of post-natal care?!!
now, here are some pelvic floor exercises I do, that have greatly improves all – ALL – of my symptoms.
Pelvic Floor Exercises: BRIDE
While lying on your back, tighten your lower abdominal (as if you are about to poop or the feeling of bringing your belly button into floor below you), squeeze your buttocks and then raise your buttocks off the floor to create a bridge with your body.
Hold for 2 seconds and release. Repeat 20 times.
Pelvic Floor Exercises: BRIDGE WITH LEG EXTENSION
Stay in raised bridge, as explained above, continue to squeeze your buttocks. The, press your left heel firming into the floor and extend your right leg fully. Make sure to continue squeezing your butt, so that you’re not engaging your lower back.
Hold for 2-seconds. Return your leg to the ground and repeat with the opposite leg. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
If you’re just starting out, you should fully lower the bridge and rest. Work up to a point where you can do a few leg extensions without lowering the bridge or sacrificing form and that good squeeze.
Pelvic Floor Exercises: MODIFIED PLANK ON ELBOWS
Lay face down on the mat and push yourself into a plank. Make sure your elbows are directly under your shoulder blades. Keep your pelvis tucked in. You should feel mostly glutes, core and upper shoulders working.
Neutralize the neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond the hands. Your head should be in line with your back.
Hold the position for 20 seconds. As you get more comfortable with the move, hold your plank for as long as possible without compromising form or breath.
Pelvic Floor Exercises: BIRD DOG
Begin on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Pull your abs in to your spine. (Imagine someone pulling your belly button from the inside.)
Keeping your back and pelvis stable, reach your right arm forward and left leg back. Don’t allow the pelvis to rock side to side as you move your leg behind you. Focus on not letting the rib cage sag toward the floor.
Reach through your left heel to engage the muscles in the back of the leg and your butt. Return to the starting position, placing your hand and knee on the floor.
Do the same movement on the other side. Repeat 10 times on each side.