Pelvic floor muscles are formed as a hammock and stretch from the pelvic bone to the tailbone and it supports the uterus, bladder and bowel. These muscles when finely toned help in controlling bladder and also bowel movements and so it is important for women of all ages to do pelvic floor exercises to maintain their strength. There are a lot of reasons for the weakening of these muscles and one of them is pregnancy and childbirth.
Identifying the pelvic floor muscles –The best way to identify pelvic floor muscles is to try and stop the passing of urine and you will feel the muscles around the vagina tightening a bit. Similarly you can try and imagine stopping the passage of wind and some muscles will tighten. The muscles that are squeezed or lifted slightly are the pelvic floor muscles. But while trying to identify these muscles make sure that you are not tightening the buttocks, pulling your stomach inside or holding your breath.
How to do pelvic floor exercises –
• Sit comfortably in a chair or lie down and take some deep breaths. Pull the pelvic floor muscles inside and simultaneously breathe out. Don’t pull too hard and breathe normally after pulling in.
• Count to five and then completely relax the muscles. Try to coordinate the pulling of the muscles with your breathing and try relaxing your face muscles as well after each contraction.
Once you have learned to this exercise without contracting muscles of buttocks or stomach and without holding your breath, you can do them anywhere. Start by doing it slowly and then increase the speed as you
become more comfortable with it.
Importance of pelvic floor exercises –
• Practicing these exercises during pregnancy days will help in relaxing them during childbirth
• It will shorten the delivery time by letting helping in pushing more efficiently
• Will help in keeping the perineum intact
• These exercises will help in coping with the increasing weight of baby
• After delivery, these exercises will help in getting blood flow through damaged tissues of vagina and help them in healing faster
• These exercises will also help with incontinence (slight leaking of urine while coughing or laughing) during and after pregnancy
These are one of the most important exercises to be practiced during pregnancy to prepare the body for a comfortable delivery. Post delivery also women should continue doing these exercises for maintaining a strong pelvic floor.