Pregnant or Planning to Be? Here's How You Can Protect Your Pelvic Floor

May 02, 2023
Pregnant or Planning to Be? Here's How You Can Protect Your Pelvic Floor
Like all muscles in your body, those that make up your pelvic floor benefit from exercise. If you’re pregnant or planning to be, toning this region makes life easier for both you and your baby. Here’s how you can protect your pelvic floor.

A system of connective tissue and muscles tasked with supporting organs in your lower abdomen, the pelvic floor plays an equally important role during pregnancy, supporting your baby while adjusting to accommodate your growing uterus, all while maintaining the regular bodily functions your pelvic floor muscles control. 

While pregnancy is a natural process, it’s also uncomfortable and painful at times. The focus of Dr. Rudy Malayil and our team at Pain Management 360 in Huntington, Hurricane, and Charleston, West Virginia, targets your comfort, so we do all we can to assist you in the management — and prevention — of pain. 

When it comes to pregnancy, being proactive about pelvic floor conditioning can pay some large dividends. 

The role of your pelvic floor

Organs in your pelvic area require support, but must also be free enough to move and adapt to your body and the changes it goes through. The pelvic floor supports your uterus, large intestine, bladder, and other reproductive organs like your ovaries and fallopian tubes. 

In addition, the muscles of your pelvic floor help control bodily functions like waste elimination and sexual performance, so your pelvic floor has some important duties in keeping your life on track. 

Pregnancy provides another crucial responsibility for your pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor supports the increasing weight of your uterus while the muscles assist vaginal delivery. 

Protecting your pelvic floor through pregnancy

As an athlete works out and prepares for competition by bringing their body into peak shape, you’ve got a similar role ahead of and through your pregnancy. Your body undergoes enormous changes, and the tissues of your pelvic floor bear more than their share. 

It’s common for women to experience problems after having one or more children. Urine leakage is common, at least temporarily, while long-term organ prolapse can become an issue. This increases your risk of future bladder, bowel, or sexual function problems. The best way to preserve your pelvic floor health is through targeted exercise. 

Pelvic floor exercise

Working any muscle group requires deliberate contraction and relaxation. Unlike legs and arms that use an obvious flexing motion, pelvic floor muscles are harder to isolate. 

Find your pelvic floor muscles

You can identify the muscles of your pelvic floor by observing a few natural voluntary actions such as holding back gas or stopping urination in midstream. Don’t use these as exercises, but only as a means of locating your pelvic floor functions. 

Isolate your pelvic floor

Once you’ve identified the muscles of your pelvic floor, check to see that your buttocks and thighs remain relaxed and that you don’t hold your breath as you contract your pelvic floor muscles. 

Work your routine

If you’re familiar with Kegel exercises, you’re already familiar with isolating your pelvic floor muscles and working them. These are exercises you can do anywhere, in any posture. Keep this four-step routine in mind: 

  • Contract: squeeze your pelvic floor muscles while breathing normally and relaxing other muscles
  • Hold: contract your pelvic floor for a count of eight
  • Release: relax your pelvic floor for a count of eight
  • Repeat: repeat the steps about eight times, with three sets of repetitions spread throughout the day

As you find these counts and repetitions easier to perform, hold for a count of 10 while repeating 10 times. The numbers aren’t as important as the consistency of your exercise. Consult with your obstetrician or primary caregiver for targets that work for you. With a well-toned pelvic floor, you’re better prepared for the rigors of pregnancy. 

For more information or to ask questions about the best ways to protect your pelvic floor, contact us at Pain Management 360. Call or click to request an appointment at our location nearest you. We’re ready to help, so plan your visit today.