Exercises for Healing Your Pelvic Floor
Do you want to strengthen your pelvic floor after childbirth? Here’s a guide to pelvic floor exercises for new mothers.
Pregnancy and childbirth are great transformations for every woman. Almost everything changes after having a baby and that is why giving yourself time to recover is crucial. Many exercises can help you heal and recover from those significant changes in the body. Postpartum exercises are the best way to regain strength and improve flexibility slowly.
There are a lot of physical, emotional, and hormonal changes, a woman goes through during and after pregnancy. During those nine months, the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles weaken, as these muscles support the bladder, uterus, and bowel of the pregnant woman. Pelvic floor muscles also provide stability and balance while performing daily activities.
Regular physical activity helps you to fight symptoms of postpartum depression and other hormonal changes after giving birth. With the help of postpartum pelvic floor exercise, you can gain strength back in the muscles and prevent pelvic organ prolapse in the future.
What are pelvic floor muscles?
Pelvic floor muscles consist of muscles and connective tissues that provide support to important organs in your pelvis, such as the bladder and internal reproductive organs. A strong pelvic floor helps maintain good bladder and bowel control. It is also important for good sexual function.
During pregnancy, pelvic floor muscles work harder than normal to support the weight of the growing baby and are also weakened due to pregnancy hormones. At the time of childbirth, the pelvic floor muscles undergo stretching and strain to allow your baby to be born. After the delivery, it is important to help your pelvic floor recover and regain strength, which can be possible with the help of pelvic floor exercises.
Benefits of strengthening your pelvic floor
The postpartum phase comes with new aches and pains for mothers, including hip, lower back, and shoulder pain. By strengthening your pelvic floor, you can prevent and treat some of these muscle imbalances.
After getting approval to resume your exercise from your healthcare provider, you should start prioritizing pelvic floor exercises in your routine.
Pelvic floor exercises strengthen the muscles around your bladder, vagina, and bottom. This can help stop incontinence and decrease the risk of pelvic organ prolapse.
What is pelvic organ prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) occurs when the muscles and tissue of the pelvic floor no longer support the pelvic organs. This condition mostly occurs in women after childbirth, after a hysterectomy, or after menopause. Prolapse gives you a dragging feeling in your vagina because your womb, bladder, and bowel push against the walls of your vagina.
How long does the pelvic floor take to heal?
After the delivery, it can take more than 6 weeks to improve the strength of any muscle. Therefore, it is important to stay consistent and practice your pelvic floor exercises at least 4 to 5 times per week postpartum for a minimum of 6 weeks.
However, it is important to remember that everyone’s delivery and pelvic floor are different. So, you should consult the doctor or physical therapist who will help you find the best pelvic floor recovery plan for you.
Pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises, also known as kegel exercises, help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support the organs in your pelvis, such as the bladder, bowel, and vagina. Pelvic floor exercises involve tightening and then releasing the muscles in your pelvic floor to strengthen them.
Some postpartum pelvic floor exercises to help your pelvic floor are listed below.
The clamshell exercise is a side-lying, lower body activation and strengthening exercise. This postpartum pelvic floor exercise is done to strengthen the glute muscles and hip rotators, which become weak during pregnancy. This exercise strengthens your hips and thigh muscles by stabilizing your pelvic muscles and toning your glutes. Clamshell exercise can be done anywhere with little space and without any equipment and is also done with different variations.
The clamshell exercise targets the gluteal muscle and the muscles around the hip and pelvis.
Clamshell exercises come with many health benefits that include:
- It aids in the strengthening of the core and hip muscles.
- Helps to stabilize the pelvis by strengthening the surrounding musculature.
- Decrease the risk of injury to the hip joint
02. Diaphragmatic breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing is also known as deep breathing or belly breathing. It is a great way to connect the abdominals, pelvic floor, and diaphragm to stabilize your core. It is a breathing exercise that engages your diaphragm to help your body breathe more efficiently. The pelvic floor works in coordination with the abdominals and diaphragm. To perform this exercise, you have to take a deep breath through your nose, and you can feel your pelvic muscles open and relax.
Diaphragmatic breathing comes with many benefits that can affect your entire body.
- Improve muscle function during exercises and prevent strain
- Improved core muscle stability
- Help relax pelvic floor muscle
03. Kegel exercise
Kegel exercises are simple clench-and-release exercises that are done to make the pelvic floor muscles stronger. Pregnancy and childbirth weaken the pelvic floor in women, and kegel exercises can help restore the abdominal wall and strengthen the pelvic floor.
- Prevent or control urinary incontinence
- Perineal healing after delivery
- Strengthen the muscle that supports the weight of the foetus
04. Pec stretch
Post-delivery, new mothers spend a lot of time breastfeeding and bottle-feeding the baby, which causes back. shoulder, and neck pain. To help with the help, you can do pec stretches. This exercise is done by lying down on your back in a comfortable spot and positioning your arms straight on the floor in a Y position for two minutes. Spend at least five minutes on this exercise.
- Prevents tightness in the chest
- Helps maintain a proper posture during activities
- Prevents neck, back, and hip pain
Pregnancy and childbirth put immense strain on the pelvic floor, which may cause the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles in women.
Pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscle in new moms. Every pregnancy and childbirth experience is different, so the time to heal and strengthen that pelvic floor muscle varies. It usually takes four to six weeks to notice a difference. Here we discussed some exercises to heal the pelvic floor muscles after childbirth. We hope it helped!