These muscles are talked about a lot, particularly during pregnancy, but often they are seen as this mysterious unknown entity in the nether regions!
Pelvic floor are the muscles around your bladder, genitals, and back passage which attach to the bottom of the pelvis and support the pelvic organs. In women, the pelvic organs are the bladder, bowel and uterus. In men, it’s the bladder and the bowel.
If your pelvic floor gets weak, it means these organs are not supported and you may have difficulty controlling bodily functions like urinating. During pregnancy, the pelvic floor muscles also provide support for the baby, and help with the birth of the baby too.
Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can help stop incontinence, treat prolapse, and make sex better, too. It is important to strengthen them during pregnancy because they are stressed greatly during childbirth. Stress incontinence (leaking urine when coughing, sneezing or lifting) is very common after childbirth and results from weak pelvic floor muscles.
The good news?
You can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles really effectively. All pregnant women should be doing pelvic floor exercises before child birth and certainly after childbirth. However, both men and women can benefit from pelvic floor exercises.
Some ideas to try:
· Imagine you are trying to prevent a bowel movement.
· Imagine you are trying to stop yourself from urinating, or stop mid flow.
Try different types of contraction, so initially hold just for a moment and then release. Try three lots of 8 to 12 repetitions each day.
Then progress to holding the contraction for up to 10 seconds.
You should be able to do these exercises without bracing, without holding your breath or even without showing any external signs of effort. When you have perfected your technique, you should be able to maintain a normal conversation whilst contracting your pelvic floor muscles without the person you’re in conversation with being able to detect anything unusual!
Give it a go!