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What NOT to do with your pelvic Floor during Pregnancy and Postpartum
Most of us know that we need to pay attention to our pelvic floor when we're pregnant and postpartum. However, it can be hard to figure out where to begin. In my opinion, simply being aware of the fact that you have a pelvic floor is a good first step. Individualized training and/or pelvic floor physical therapy is always going to be my first recommendation. BUT, just knowing some things to avoid is an excellent starting point.
The research varies on exactly how many kegels someone should do each day to avoid things like leakage. However, it does tell us that even if you're experiencing leakage, between 30-80 repetitions of kegels per day is optimal to help decrease leakage. Doing them all day doesn't automatically mean better results.
In my professional experience, many women have weak pelvic floor muscles. On the other hand, many women also can't figure out how to relax their pelvic floor muscles. Doing kegels is great and can be helpful, but being able to relax the pelvic floor in between the kegels is equally important. A pelvic floor that can relax and squeeze properly will help during labor and delivery. It will also help as you recover postpartum.
This should probably be number one. Holding your breath with pelvic floor exercises or at all is a definite "no." Holding your breath when you bend and lift something puts extra pressure on the pelvic floor. If a prolapse is already present, it can worsen those symptoms. Additionally, holding your breath with movement after a C-section can put extra pressure on the incision.
If the pelvic floor is weak, many women unknowingly squeeze their inner thighs when they think they're doing a kegel. Be sure you don't feel your inner thigh muscles tighten up as you kegel. Instead, you should feel a squeeze and lift in the pelvic floor area.
Do not do this! I've suggested it to patients to try one time if they can't figure out what the pelvic floor does. But one time is more than enough. Doing this while you're urinating can increase risk of a UTI by not allowing your bladder to empty all the urine. If you need to try one time to figure out where your pelvic floor is, okay. Just stop after that! If you're still not sure, seek out a pelvic floor therapist who can help you.
If you're pregnant or postpartum, avoiding these simple things put you on the path of having a healthy pelvic floor. If you're still having difficulty with your pelvic floor, experience leakage, pain, or want to prepare for childbirth, we can help you prepare at Simpli Whole!
Book an appointment using the link below or reach out with questions!
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