What is my pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor muscles are part of your core. Other muscles in this group are the deep abdominal muscles ( NOT your 6-pack abs) , deep spinal muscles and diaphragm with a top (diaphragm), base ( pelvic floor) , and 2 sides ( tummy and back). These muscles work together for correct breathing, posture and movement. They loop around the urethra (where we pass wee) and the anal passage (where we empty solid waste) to help to keep these openings tightly sealed or released when it is time to eliminate waste from our system. These muscles also aid the bladder, the urethra and the rectum to stay in their correct position. Poor pelvic floor function within the core can result in back aches, poor posture, breathing and overall physical weakness. Basically, if one isn’t fully functional, then the other muscles try to over compensate and become overworked, and it just doesn’t work as well. This may help explain why some mums never seem to lose that little poochy mummy tummy, because there isn’t the connection or strength in their pelvic floor.
The Pelvic Floor is the foundation of the central part of our body, sitting right in the lower part of our abdominal area. This sling type set of muscles is all too often overlooked but it is vital to strengthen them to prevent weakness and leaks and the good news is that you are never too young or too old and therefore you can always make a difference.So, ladies, whatever your age or stage in life, NOW is the time to improve your pelvic floor strength, whether you are pre/post natal, approaching or in the midst of your menopause or just ”feel the need”.
Its these muscles that do all the work when it comes down to having babies, bladder control, and a great sex life. Strong pelvic floor muscles= well, you get my point!
If your pelvic floor muscles are weak, you may find that you leak urine when you cough, sneeze or strain. This is quite common and you needn’t feel embarrassed. It’s known as stress incontinence and it can continue after pregnancy, but it should not be ‘put up with’. It’s not ‘normal’ and becomes ‘one of things’ that happens until it really affects our life and then we want a fix, now.
During pregnancy, the pelvic floor is put under increasing pressure as your baby grows and gains weight. The extra progesterone hormone in your body also softens and relaxes your muscles. This has to happen to allow you to push your baby out, but it also weakens the pelvic floor, as its a muscle. The vagina needs to form the birth canal for the baby to path through. This presents a considerable stretching and opening. The better condition the vaginal walls are the better they can do their job and recover. Luckily, there are exercises you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor during pregnancy. This will help protect the muscle during birth, help towards a speedy recovery post birth and reduce the chance of stress incontinence.
All pregnant women should do pelvic floor exercises, even if you’re young and not suffering from stress incontinence now.
The pelvic floor muscles that support your bladder, bowel and uterus,( all your internal organs) will have stretched and relaxed during pregnancy and birth to allow your baby out. Pregnancy and childbirth puts your pelvic floor muscles under immense stress and pressure. There’s the pressure of carrying a bump around for nine months, that just gets heavier, plus hormonal changes which cause the muscles to lose their tone, followed by them stretching like never before to allow your baby to be born. All this can weaken the pelvic floor, leading to bladder weakness and even a loss of sensation during sex. This means it’s harder for the muscles to hold waste in and it’s incredibly common for new mums to find that when they laugh, jump, run, sneeze or cough, a bit of wee escapes. This is called stress incontinence. Your vaginal walls have a prominent role in resisting pelvic organ displacement. Keeping your vaginal walls strong is therefore a sensible choice.