Did you realise that one in three women who have ever had a baby wet themselves and that only 50% of women can perform a correct pelvic floor contraction?
Understanding how your Pelvic Floor works when losing your pregnancy weight and losing stomach fat is very important. The pelvic floor muscles are the layer of muscles that support the pelvic organs – the bladder, the bowel and the uterus. These muscles stretch from your tailbone to the pubic bone so they are a big layer of muscle which supports the organs that lie on top of them. The pelvic floor muscles also work in tandem with the abdominal and back muscles to stabilise the spine so they are crucial in preventing incontinence, in increasing core control and in losing stomach fat.
What job do the pelvic floor muscles perform?
- They help in shutting off the bladder and anus
- They assist in holding the bladder, uterus and bowel in place – this is very important when exerting foce such as coughing, sneezing, lifting, laughing and when doing exercise
- They help in sexual function
- They help pelvic stability
When the baby travels through the birth canal, the pelvic floor muscles are also stretched. This can leave the muscles weak and unable to keep the bladder and bowel from leaking. In some very bad cases this cause a prolapse of internal organs.
A WRONG pelvic floor contraction may include:
- Bracing of the abdominal wall
- Clenching the bum cheeks together
- Clenching or tensing your thighs
- Holding your breath
It is vital to learn to perform pelvic floor exercises correctly so that you can strengthen the muscles rather than using others to compensate.
How to work your pelvic floor correctly
- Lay flat on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor
- Keep your back passage relaxed and breath gently upwards through your front passage – a lot of women do this by ‘trying to stop the flow of urine’ and others ‘imagine you have inserted a tampon and are gently drawing it upwards’.
- Ensure that you keep all other muscles relaxed
- Try and breathe through the pelvic floor contraction and continue to hold
- Also try and ensure that you can relax your pelvic floor muscles
- It is key to ensure that you are not bearing down or pushing as opposed to contracting
Does everyone need to do pelvic floor exercises?
As with all exercise your specific pelvic floor exercise can be very personalised. Learning how to properly work your pelvic floor is the first step and if you are experiencing pelvic floor weakness it will not just ‘fix itself’ on it’s own
Common signs of a weak pelvic floor may include leaking of urine or faeces, having to get to the toilet quickly, heaviness or a vaginal bulge and lack of sexual sensation.
What should I avoid?
If you believe you have a pelvic floor weakness certain exercises are worth not doing. High impact exercise like running, jumping or jogging should be stopped until your pelvic floor issue is resolved. Some squatting exercises, heavy lifting and any movement that makes you feel like you are ‘bearing down’ should be avoided until you have sought help from a health professional and remedied the situation.
A general rule I like to follow when exercising is asking ‘can I work my pelvic floor during this exercise and can I release?’ If you can feel a difference between contracting and releasing then you are likely to be fine to continue your exercise. If you feel no difference you may wish to go easy until you have retrained your pelvic floor further.
Every woman and every body is different, as is everyone’s ability to lose weight and if you are unsure of what you are doing it is important that you speak to a qualified health specialist in this area. You should ABSOLUTELY NOT suffer in silence – and although a pelvic floor weakness will not automatically fix itself there are a number of exercises that can be done to help fix the issue.
A big thank you to Jenny Duggard from www.bodybeyondbaby.com.au for this wonderful article written for the Lose Baby Weight mums.
And to see our weight loss plans click here
Get Our Exercise DVD
And for the ULTIMATE SAFE, EFFECTIVE & TRUSTED Post Pregnancy Workout – see our EXPERT Post Pregnancy Exercise DVD below – you can purchase and see more information on it here
The DVD can be followed by all mums (for example new mums or mums with older children) and can be followed by someone with a basic or a more advanced level of fitness.
Lisa Westlake is our incredible fitness instructor and postnatal exercise specialist throughout the DVD. With her extensive physiotherapy experience and qualifications (Lisa is one of the most awarded fitness professionals in Australia), Lisa is the perfect fitness instructor to bring The Healthy Mummy Post Pregnancy Exercise DVD to life – you will love working out with her. (You can see our Q&A with Lisa with commonly asked questions on the DVD here)
The exercises in The Healthy Mummy Post Pregnancy Exercise DVD are effective and safe and Lisa will guide you through each of the workouts. As well as assisting in the improvement of your overall fitness levels, the workouts in the DVD will also help in the burning of calories, the improvement of your core strength and the strengthening of your pelvic floor.
The six workouts are broken down into 10 and 15 minute sections that you can do when it suits you – or if you have the time and energy you can do the DVD as one 70 minute continuous workout. The Healthy Mummy Post Pregnancy Exercise DVD also covers special considerations post-birth, such as caesarean sections, back strains, muscle separation, incontinence and pelvic floor issues.
[pb_vidembed title=”The Post Pregnancy Exercise DVD” caption=”” url=”http://vimeo.com/73423922″ type=”vem” w=”600″ h=”450″]
*Please consult your Doctor before starting any exercise regime and always go for your 6 week check up before doing any exercise post birth
**Please note that this site is for information only and should not replace any medical advice from a Doctor