Pregnancy is a transformative journey that brings about many changes in a woman's body, including significant impacts on the pelvic floor. It is important to nurture your pelvic health during this time to support a healthy pregnancy, prepare for labor and delivery, and promote postpartum recovery. If you are already pregnant, or are considering becoming pregnant, here are some key factors involving the pelvic floor to consider:
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Engaging in regular pelvic floor exercises, commonly known as Kegel exercises, is highly beneficial during pregnancy. These exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, improve muscle tone, and enhance their ability to support the growing uterus. Strong pelvic floor muscles can also contribute to better bladder and bowel control, which may be affected during pregnancy.
Proper Body Mechanics
Practicing proper body mechanics is needed to prevent unnecessary strain on the pelvic floor muscles. As your pregnancy progresses, you will want to avoid prolonged periods of sitting or standing. Be mindful of your posture, when sitting, standing, or lifting objects and be sure to practice frequent posture adjustments. When lifting, bend at the knees and use your leg muscles rather than straining the pelvic floor.
Pelvic Floor Relaxation
Alongside strengthening exercises, learning to relax the pelvic floor muscles is equally important. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, can help release tension in the pelvic floor and promote optimal blood flow and flexibility. Incorporating pelvic floor relaxation into your daily routine can be beneficial for both physical and mental well-being during pregnancy.
Pelvic Floor Education
Seek out information and educate yourself about the pelvic floor and its changes during pregnancy. Understanding the role of the pelvic floor muscles, their interaction with other structures, and the potential effects of pregnancy on their function can empower you to take proactive steps in caring for your pelvic health. Attend prenatal classes or workshops that include pelvic floor education and discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.
Optimal Bladder and Bowel Habits
Pregnancy can impact bladder and bowel function, leading to increased frequency, urgency, or constipation. Maintaining optimal bladder and bowel habits can help prevent undue strain on the pelvic floor muscles. Drink plenty of water, eat a fiber-rich diet, and establish regular urinating and bowel movements. Avoid straining during bowel movements and empty your bladder fully to minimize the risk of bladder-related pelvic floor issues.
Pelvic Floor Support
Consider using additional support for your pelvic floor during pregnancy, such as a maternity support belt or specialized undergarments designed to provide gentle compression and lift. These supportive aids can help alleviate pressure on the pelvic floor, reduce discomfort, and promote better pelvic alignment.
Seek Professional Guidance
If you have specific concerns or are experiencing symptoms related to the pelvic floor, it is beneficial to consult with a pelvic floor therapist who specializes in prenatal care. They can assess your pelvic floor function, provide tailored exercises and strategies, and offer guidance for managing any specific pelvic floor-related issues you may be experiencing.
Taking care of your pelvic floor during pregnancy can have long-lasting benefits for your overall pelvic health. By implementing these considerations and seeking appropriate guidance, you can support the strength, function, and resilience of your pelvic floor during this transformative time. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider or pelvic floor therapist for personalized advice based on your unique needs and pregnancy journey.