What is the pelvic floor?
– Pelvic floor muscles are located between the tailbone and the pubic bone within the pelvis. They help to support bowel and bladder, and other pelvic organs.
– Signs and symptoms of an unhealthy pelvic floor can include incontinence (e.g. urine or stool leakage), feeling of vaginal heaviness, constipation, etc.
During and throughout pregnancy, pelvic floor muscles can weaken and/or tighten due to:
– extra weight and pressure on pelvic floor as the baby grows (especially during the third trimester)
– hormonal changes that may soften pelvic floor muscles
– after birth (vaginal or caesarian), there is considerable impact in pelvic floor muscles and abdominal wall muscles
Benefits of pelvic floor exercises:
– decrease pain and fatigue in pelvic floor
– improve bowel and bladder control
– improve healing time post-pregnancy
– prevent pelvic organ prolapse
Exercises during pregnancy:
– strengthening of pelvic floor as recommended by doctor or physiotherapist, may not be suitable for everyone
– through Kegel exercises, and strengthening/stretching of hip/pelvic musculature
Exercises after pregnancy:
– continue strengthening of pelvic floor and surrounding muscles
– there are still a lot of changes in the pelvic area especially within first 3 months post-pregnancy
– need to have tailored exercise plan to return safely even to general full body exercise
If interested in scheduling a session for pelvic physiotherapy, click here
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By: Irene Chau, Physiotherapist