It is important to exercise your pelvic floor muscles during and after pregnancy because these muscles play a vital role in supporting the pelvic organs, including the uterus, bladder, and rectum.
During pregnancy, the pelvic floor muscles stretch and weaken due to the weight of the growing baby and hormonal changes. This can lead to problems such as incontinence (leaking urine or faeces) and pelvic organ prolapse (when the pelvic organs drop down and press against the vaginal wall). Exercising the pelvic floor muscles can help to prevent or improve these problems, and can also improve sexual function.
It is especially important to exercise the pelvic floor muscles after pregnancy, as they can take several months to fully recover from the effects of childbirth. Performing pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, can help to strengthen and tone these muscles, improving their support and function. It is generally recommended that women start doing pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy and continue to do them after giving birth, as part of their overall postpartum recovery and wellness routine.
How can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy can be an effective way to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve their function. Our physiotherapists can assess your muscle strength and give you personalised advice and exercises to do. They may also use techniques such as biofeedback or electrical stimulation to help you learn how to contract the pelvic floor muscles correctly.
Here are some examples of how a physiotherapist might approach pelvic floor muscle training:
- Assessing your muscle strength – The physiotherapist will ask you to contract your pelvic floor muscles and will use a device such as a pressure gauge or an ultrasound machine to measure the strength of your contraction. This will help them to determine your baseline muscle strength and to track your progress over time. Please note that this is usually done in the physiotherapy clinic rather than the home environment.
- Teaching you how to do the exercises correctly – Our physiotherapists can show you how to do the pelvic floor exercises correctly and can give you feedback on your form. They can also help you to identify and correct any muscle imbalances or problems with technique that may be preventing you from getting the most benefit from the exercises.
- Providing a personalised exercise program – Based on your muscle strength and any specific problems or concerns you have, the physiotherapist can create a customized exercise program for you. This may include a variety of different exercises, such as basic Kegel exercises, squats, leg lifts, and bridges. The physiotherapist will usually progress the difficulty of the exercises over time as your muscles get stronger.
- Using biofeedback or electrical stimulation – Biofeedback is a technique that uses sensors to help you to learn how to contract your pelvic floor muscles correctly. An electrical stimulation device can be used to stimulate the pelvic floor muscles and help you to feel the correct contraction. These techniques can be especially helpful if you are having trouble identifying the right muscles or if you have a particularly weak pelvic floor.
It may be helpful to seek guidance from one of our physiotherapists at Home Physio Group if you are looking to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. They can assess your muscle strength and can create a custom program for you during and after your pregnancy.
For more information, please contact us on 0330 335 1016 or alternatively please fill out our contact sheet and we will get back to you.