Pelvic floor muscles are very important as they:
- Control the bladder and bowel
- Support the pelvic organs and thus help prevent prolapse
- Are important for sexual function
- Support the growing uterus when pregnant
- Work with core muscles to support the spine
Where are they?
- They attach to the pubic bone at the front and tail bone at the back and to the side of the pelvic walls.
- They are the only horizontal muscle in your body and often described as a hammock that supports the pelvic organs.
What can weaken the Pelvic floor?
- Regular straining to empty the bowel
- Constant coughing
- Weight of baby and hormones during pregnancy
- Muscle damage and interventions used during birth
- Work involving regular heavy lifting
- Excessive abdominal workouts or over challenging exercise
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Hysterectomy and some pelvic surgery.
Pelvic floor muscles cause problems when they are….
- Weak and not strong enough to lift when you run or sneeze
- Tight and cannot relax
- Over powered by excessive tightness in trunk and waist muscles
- 1 in 3 women experience incontinence after labor due to pelvic floor dysfunction.
Benefits of Pelvic Floor Exercises:
- Restoration of vaginal muscle tone and vaginal health
- Recover from physical stress of childbirth
- Prevention and treatment of stress urinary incontinence.
- Strengthen the pelvic floor muscles
- Increase blood supply and nerve supply to the pelvic region
- Increases sexual stimulation and feeling
Exercises to strengthen your Pelvic Floor
It is important for all women before and after birth whether they have a vaginal or cesarean delivery to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles.
Pelvic Floor Relaxation
It is very important to ensure your pelvic floor muscles are relaxed before you start strengthening them.
- Lie on you back with a pillow under your knees or on your side with a pillow between your knees.
- Place your hands on the lower part of your tummy
- Breathe into your tummy slowly and ensure your tummy stays soft
- Hold for 3 seconds at the end of the breath and feel your Pelvic floor release
- Repeat 4-5 times
- Long Hold:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet supported but apart.
- Squeeze and lift around all 3 openings in your pelvic floor. These being your back passage vagina and bladder. Like you are trying to stop yourself passing wind and urine.
- Hold for 6-10 seconds, keep your abdominal, buttock and thigh muscles relaxed and continue to breathe normally.
- Relax for 3 seconds.
- Repeat this exercise another 5 times
- Repeat 3 times a day.
- As your pelvic floor muscles get stronger, practice in sitting and standing.
- Gradually increase the hold time and number of repetitions until you can do a 10 second hold 10 times.
Remember…Always stop exercising when the muscle fatigues.
- Quick holds
- Tighten the pelvic floor muscles as above but only hold for a second before letting go fully.
- Repeat 5 times in a row.
- Repeat 3 times a day.
- Gradually increase your repetitions until you can do 20 quick squeezes in a row, it may take a few months to be able to do this.
How can PH help?
Book appointment with our women’s health physiotherapist Mary-Kate to get a thorough pelvic floor assessment and specifically tailored exercise programme.
01 496 4002 firstname.lastname@example.org