Welcome back! I hope you are incorporating more perineal muscle power foods after last weeks post! This week lets talk a bit more on this subject but dive into the more physical side of things.
Almost every woman has been told to do kegels! However, many women don’t really know how to actually do these regaled exercise. It is important to actually identify the proper muscles for kegels. The easiest way to do this is to sit on the toilet and then try to stop a stream of urine. When you can do this you have successfully learned how to contract your pelvic floor muscles!
You should do these little contractions at least once a day. You can do kegels really anywhere as no one will know! Try to find a time that you will remember like on your way to work, while you shower, when you read before bed, etc. When you have identified your time contract the muscles and hold for 5 seconds then release and repeat about 10x. You can also change this up by doing quick short bursts or long holds. This will even further improve muscle function.
Squats are one of my all time favorite exercises! Squats when done in good posture build a strong core and legs (which are great for pushing). What is little known is squats are also amazing for your pelvic floor health! To do squats plant your feed shoulder width apart keep your back straight and squat down! Depending on your starting strength you may not be able to go all the way down. Ideally work to get low enough that your knees make a right angle. Again you can change up slow, quick and holding the position. Try to do 20 repetitions to start and slowly work up to more as you get stronger.
Bridges are also amazing for your core. As you will find your core and pelvic floor and very connected. What is good for one is good for the other! To do a bridge lay on the floor with your feet flat on the floor right below your knees. Then push up through your heals till your butt is off the floor. Squeeze your abdominal muscles, glutes, and pelvic floor. Lift up and hold then lower. Play with the time you spend holding and the number of repetitions as you increase in strength. Note: This is an exercise that will get harder as pregnancy progress. Remember you shouldn’t lay on your back for very long past 20 weeks so do this with caution and stop if it hurts, makes you dizzy or lightheaded or your midwife tells you too!
This is an exercise that you can continue throughout pregnancy (as long as you can maintain your balance!) and will even help your baby be in the optimal birth position. Start on your hands and knees. Your arms should be shoulder width apart and your knees should be squarely below your hips. Then raise your opposite arm and leg in the air. Keep both you arm and leg straight. Hold for 5-30sec depending on your strength level then lower. start with 10 reps on each side. Note: if you are unable to extend your leg straight you can modify this with a bent knee and work you way to a straight leg. It is extremely important that you maintain and straight neutral spine with this. Don’t allow you spine to droop down with the weight of your belly as this will hurt your back!
There is just a few exercises you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor. Remember these are important in every stage of a woman’s life not just pregnancy! Make these things a regular part of your routine for the rest of your life for a strong and healthy pelvic floor. For visuals of these exercises with a couple extra bonuses check out these two links https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/pelvic-floor-exercises#bird-dog https://alwaysdiscreet.com/en-us/incontinence-advice-support/incontinence-exercises-for-women/pelvic-floor-exercises-for-women