Obviously we understand the overwhelm and excitement that comes with finding out you're pregnant, and that your priorities will likely shift to be purely about your unborn baby instead of your own well being.
Preparing for childbirth and postpartum recovery is just as important as all the other steps you need to take during this period!
Keeping your pelvic floor strong.
As well as eating all the right food, maintaining regular exercises, getting enough rest and taking your supplements and folic acid, (wow that's a lot!) You need to keep your pelvic floor strong.
So what is your pelvic floor?
Your pelvic floor is a band of muscles that stretch along your lower abdomen from your tailbone to your pubic bone. The best way to imagine this is to think of your pelvic floor as a hammock that your pelvic organs rest on, such as your uterus, bladder and bowel.
Your sphincter and vaginal muscles are also located within the pelvic floor. The sphincter muscles surround your urethra and anus. Their function is to stop you peeing, pooing or passing wind when you don't want to. Your vaginal muscles are used during sex and giving birth vaginally.
How can we strengthen our pelvic floor muscles or prevent them from weakening?
So we're all aware by now (at least we should be) that exercising your pelvic floor is just as important as any other form of exercise.
We need to keep our pelvic floor strong;
- To prepare our bodies for pregnancy
- To assist with postpartum recovery
- To prevent or recover from a prolapse
- To prevent or recover from incontinence
- Ease symptoms of menopause
- Improve the intensity of sex and orgasms for both partners
- Avoid pain during sex
One of the best ways to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles is to include just 15 minutes a day of pelvic floor exercises with kegel weights.
They are discreet weighted balls that you would enter into the vagina. You can use them during the day while completing housework, cooking dinner or even during your current exercise routine.
The weights work by your vaginal walls clenching and tightening to keep the weights in place, in turn restoring and strengthening your muscles downtown.
Using kegel weights to prepare for pregnancy or postpartum recovery.
If you're not already using these little gems, there's no better time to start than right now to begin seeing the benefits quickly.
During pregnancy, your pelvic floor is under so much stress with all the changes to your body and your hormones. The hormones alone weaken your pelvic floor muscles. With the added strain of your uterus growing and taking on more weight daily from your baby, the pelvic floor muscles can weaken significantly.
Weakened pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy can lead to urinary leaks when laughing, coughing or sneezing. You may also find the need to urinate more often than usual. These are symptoms of urinary incontinence and are very common, so please don’t feel alone or ashamed with what’s happening to your body! Click here to learn more about incontinence and different types.
There is also a risk of further complications such as pelvic organ prolapse. This occurs when one or all of your pelvic organs (uterus, bladder or bowel) drops from its usual position and pushes into the walls of your vagina. This can be very uncomfortable or feel as though something is pushing out of you. Click here to learn more about pelvic organ prolapse.
Keeping your pelvic floor muscles strong and healthy during pregnancy will help to avoid these issues, which will likely continue into postpartum recovery.
So your body has experienced that extra strain for the past 9 months weakening your pelvic floor. The process of pushing a baby out of your uterus can cause further damage and in some cases tearing to the pelvic floor muscles.
Even if a caesarian is an option you're considering, this will involve cutting through multiple layers of muscle and requires it's own intense recovery period.
Ensuring your pelvic floor muscles are strong beforehand or postpartum will lead to faster recovery time, and assist with issues such as pain during sex, incontinence and prolapse.
Click here to get yours today, and start strengthening your pelvic floor muscles from day one.