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Pelvic Floor Muscles & Pregnancy: What You Need To Know

preg-slHappy Spring!

I am focusing my energy toward pelvic floor muscles and pregnancy this spring. I participated in an Exercise Through Pregnancy class with Debra Goodman, PT, in Albany in March and will be taking another pregnancy and post partum class through the American PT Association in early June.

Most of you reading this have either had a baby or plan to in the future. Either way, you understand that a women’s body goes through many changes during and after pregnancy! My goal is to help people decrease pain throughout pregnancy, so you can do your everyday activities without limitations.

The lumbar and pelvic region of the body goes through the most changes with pregnancy, though abdominal and pelvic floor strengthening is the key to helping prevent and relieve issues. This will help support the growing uterus, prevent diastasis recti, assist with delivery, return to pre-pregnancy state faster, and prevent incontinence.

The pelvic floor muscle group is not addressed in mainstream physical therapy.  Yet, we need to have strength, endurance and flexibility in order for the muscles to work properly. Once injured, the pelvic floor does not heal well and normal, everyday movements do not strengthen it enough. Remember, a healthier system going into birth produces a better recovery!

Kegels & Strengthening the Transverse Abdominus

The two best exercises are kegels and strengthening the transverse abdominus. Kegels should be completed in different positions and squeezing two types of muscle fibers. The first are the fast-twitch fibers, this is when you contract for 1 second and release, starting with 10 reps if you can. Then also slow-twitch fibers, this is when you try to hold for 10 seconds and repeat multiple times. Lastly, tightening the transverse abdominus can be tricky. If you huff out your breath like you are trying to fog up a mirror, feel your lower abdominals and see if they contract. Practice contracting more gently on your exhale and repeat.

This is a quick review of where to get started. Many people I see do these incorrectly to start and need some feedback. Quality of movement while exercising will give you the best results. So give me a call if you need any feedback. Sometimes just a visit or two can make a huge difference on where to begin your exercise program during and after pregnancy.

Call 518-632-4944 or contact Innova Physical Therapy online for a free consultation. Office hours by appointment.