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Connection Breath and Pelvic Floor Exercises

pelvic floor Feb 29, 2024

The importance of relaxing and strengthening the pelvic floor

It is important that you incorporate pelvic floor exercises into your day-day-day life. Taking time to breathe deeply, let your pelvic floor relax and then gently lifting up though your pelvic floor not only helps prepare your body for supporting the growing baby but the act of taking time to sit, breathe deeply and relax has many psychological benefits too.

The relaxation part of this exercise is just as important as the lifting and squeezing part. 

Some women have overactive (hypertonic) pelvic floors which means the pelvic floor muscles are ‘switched on’ constantly; learning how to breath ‘into’ the pelvic floor and relax is necessary for contracting maximally when needed. 

 

Diaphragmatic Breathing - Learn to belly breathe

  • Sit on a chair or bench, ensure good alignment by sitting on top of your sit bones and having your rib cage stacked over your pelvis.
  • Take a few breaths to start, relax into it. Place one hand on your belly and the other on the side of your rib cage.
  • As you breathe in, feel your belly relax and expand like a balloon. 
  • As you breathe out, feel your stomach deflate.

 

Pelvic Floor Connection Breath - Working on your pelvic floor exercises

The next step is to try to connect your breathing with your pelvic floor.

  • On the inhale, feel your belly relax and expand like a balloon and also imagine breathing down and into your pelvic floor, filling it with air.
  • On the exhale, imagine lifting your vagina and anus up.
  • Starting from the back, think about squeezing your coccyx to your pubic bone and lift up gently through the centre.

 

Pelvic Floor Strengthening Exercises - Kegals

Once you have mastered this breath and the full relaxation/contraction of the pelvic floor muscles, you can work on adding in some holds at the top of the pelvic floor lift as well as short lifts. 

Work up to holding for 10 secs and being able to do 10 short squeezes.

 

Impact During pregnancy

In a very general sense, as you move into your second trimester, it is recommended to reduce high-impact exercises, such as running, plate hops, skipping, etc., as they can exacerbate any pelvic floor dysfunction.

However, things have moved on considerably and if you have been engaging in a lot of high impact exercise pre-pregnancy (such as running), you have now pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms and can manage your intensity then you can continue to do so.

If you wish to continue high-impact exercise throughout your pregnancy, I recommend working with a pelvic floor physiotherapist to make sure it is able to handle the increased load correctly.

As your bump gets bigger, it may not feel as comfortable to continue with impact to the same level, but there are many moderate-low impact alternates that can be done which let you continue to build your strength and cardiovascular health.

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