As an expecting mother or new mother, there are various changes that occur to our body throughout pregnancy. The most obvious is the growth of our stomach and abdomen area to accommodate the new bub while it is growing and developing inside of us. Unfortunately for us females this means we sacrifice our abdominal core muscles(stomach) and we get abdominal separation or weak pelvic floor.
Sometimes this can lead to low sensation, hyperactivation, weakness or incontinence.
Not many people like discussing this topic or feel a little embarrassed to ask the questions. Don’t worry, we get it. So I am here to answer a few of the most commonly asked questions I get asked in the clinic.
Weather its baby number one or three, us females go through a lot with pregnancy. There is a lot gonging on with the excitement (or nervousness) and all the overwhelming feeling we get when we are expecting.
Incontinence may be viewed as a “normal” part of pregnancy and post-partum experience; however, it doesn’t have to be.
I get asked all the time “How can I prevent incontinence while pregnant or after birth?”
The answer is simple. Before falling pregnant we can keep up with our pelvic floor exercises to ensure they are strong and engaging at the correct time (an important factor when it comes to the pelvic floor) and prepared for the pressure and work they will be required to do.
If we care already pregnant, don’t stress, the same rules and exercises apply.
So, “How do I work my deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles?”
Again, the answer is simple. Laying on your back, or propped up with a pillow if you find laying on your back while pregnant uncomfortable, with our knees bent to take the pressure off our lower back, start at your hip bones. Walk your fingers down and slightly in. Now cough. You should feel these muscles tightening. These are your deep abdominal muscles and they are the ones we want to feel contract.
Now we know what muscles we are meant to be working, “How do we keep them strong?” The sensation we need to induce is the feeling of stopping urinating mid flow. So more of a draw in and up. You only need to hold this for a few seconds then relax. We will repeat this 5 times to begin with.
As these muscles become stronger and more endurance, we can increase the hold (contraction) time and the and the number of repetitions we do these.
“How often should I be working on my pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles? ”well, EVERYDAY! Actually, a few times each day is ideal.
“How do I find the time to exercise a few times a day?!?” I Again, the answer is easy. When ever we get the chance (believe me you will find the time if it means not accidentally peeing ourselves when we laugh, sneeze or go to lift something).
When we are driving, each red light you stop at, do 8 deep abdominal activations (drawing in and up, holding for 3 seconds). When we are watching TV, in the ad breaks complete 8 deep abdominal activations, when we are in the waiting room for our GP or ultrasound, complete another 8. See, it’s easy to add them into your busy day without having to disturb you mum life- schedule!
If your struggling to get these muscles activated or have been doing these exercises already and ready for more a challenge and a progression, come down to Exercise for Life in Bedford where us fully qualified and accredited Exercise Physiologists can tailor make an exercise prescription specifically for you and your needs to makeevery day more comfortable and allow you to be more in control of your body.