Pelvic Floor Exercises
Whether you are pregnant or just had your baby these are the most important exercises you can do. The pelvic floor is a layer of muscles that form the base of the pelvis. They run from the pubic bone at the front to the tail bone at the back. These muscles support your bladder, bowel and uterus. These muscles are important for preventing leakage of the bowel or bladder. These muscles can become weaker in pregnancy and after childbirth.
Exercising these muscles in pregnancy and after childbirth can help prevent leakage. Sit in a supportive chair with your buttocks, thighs and tummy relaxed. Now try to lift up the pelvic floor by imagining you are lifting your vagina up inside or imaging you are trying to stop yourself passing wind. When you lift try to keep breathing. Do not brace your tummy tightly or hold your breath. Aim to lift the muscle strongly and hold for 3-5 seconds. Then relax the muscle. Repeat these lifts 5-10 times. Try to do this set of exercises 3 times a day. If you find this hard try to lie on your side to do it.
Relaxed Breathing Pattern
Do you notice how you breathe? Do you breathe in your upper chest or lower chest (diaphragm)? The most efficient way to breath is low in the chest using your diaphragm. You should see a rise just below the breast bone when you breathe in. Place your hand under your breast bone and focus on making your chest rise in this area as you breathe in. Now see if you can make a long slow breath out. As you focus on breathing this way it can slow down your breathing rate and allow you to relax your shoulders. Practising this breathing is the first step to relaxation. Try doing this when you feel stressed i.e. in a traffic jam or at the dentist!