5 Pelvic Floor Exercises That Every Mom Must Do
Pelvic floor exercises are extremely important to help you strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor. These pelvic floor muscles tend to get weaker both, after delivery, and progressively as you age if they are not engaged regularly.
Why are pelvic floor exercises a must for moms?
A strong pelvic floor is essential for providing support to organs in your lower abdomen like the bladder, uterus, and bowels. The contraction of these muscles helps in keeping these organs in place and tightens the openings to the vagina, anus, and urethra. When relaxed these muscles facilitate several crucial everyday functions such as easy urination and excretion.
However, as your muscles weaken, it becomes difficult to get them to contract adequately which can lead to involuntary urination or incontinence. This is why pelvic floor exercises are so important for moms and women in general too.
A strong pelvic floor is very essential when it comes to your sexual life too. If these muscles are strong, you will experience less pain during sex along with more pleasurable sensations. Strong pelvic floor muscles also support your baby during pregnancy, are intrinsically involved in helping the baby out of the vagina, and can make the entire birthing process much easier.
During pregnancy and childbirth, pelvic floor muscles tend to stretch and weaken. Apart from this other factors can also weaken pelvic floor muscles which are age, weight, laborious work, heavy lifting, and lack of breathing. Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to:
- Excessive and involuntary passing of gas
- Excruciating pain while having sex
Exercises To Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Try these five pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your muscles and avoid the above-mentioned problems.
Kegels are an exercise where you contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles. Kegels are especially beneficial for those who might experience urine leakage due to laughing, coughing, sneezing, and working out.
Muscles in use: pelvic floor
Equipment required: none
When it comes to your pelvic muscle group, it can be hard to figure out which muscles to work onand how to even control them. Fortunately, we have a really good hack for this. To identify the pelvic muscle group in question, the next time you go to pee, all you need to do is to try to stop urinating halfway. The muscles you command to pause your urine mid-stream are your pelvic floor muscles. Once you’ve done this a couple of times, you’ll know just how to engage these muscles and will be able to do so at will, without needing to go to the bathroom.
To perform Kegels, contract these muscles and hold for 5 seconds. Relax for 5 seconds and repeat multiple times, at least 3 times each day.
Squats are a compound movement that calls upon a large number of muscle groups ranging from your quads, to your calves, glutes, hamstrings and involves strengthening your knees as well as your pelvic floor too. The biggest muscles in the body are used while performing squats. It is one of the most beneficial workouts for strengthening and improving the pelvic floor muscles.
Muscles in use: glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps
Equipment required: weight
Stand straight and separate your feet at the shoulder-width distance. While holding the weights in your hand, bend your knees at a 90-degree angle and push your hips and butt out like you're going to sit. Keep your jaw and neck tight and stay in the position for 5-10 seconds. Straighten your legs and get back to starting position. Perform this pelvic floor exercise for 15 reps.
Another exercise for the pelvic floor and glutes is the bridge. It also helps you build back mobility and flexibility. This exercise offers the added advantage of helping you avoid the pain and stiffness that a lot of new and expectant mothers experience owing to the added weight, strain, and exertion of carrying and looking after their children.
Muscles in use: hamstrings, glutes, and pelvic floor
Equipment required: none
Begin by lying on the floor and keeping your spine straight (and against the ground). Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle and position them directly above your feet. Your arms should be palms side down and against your body.
Once you have settled in the position, begin to breathe in and lift your body by putting pressure on your heels to raise your hips whilst focusing your glutes, hamstrings, and pelvic floor. Hold this position for 1–2 seconds at the top and return to the beginning position. Do 2–3 sets of 10–15 reps each while resting for 30–60 seconds in between sets.
- Split tabletop
Split tabletop is a leg move and is considered to be the foundation exercise for Pilates. When you are in a split position, you're also working on your hip muscles along with pelvic floor muscles.
Muscles in use: abs, pelvic floor, hips
Equipment required: yoga mat
Start by lying straight on the floor and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Tighten your abs and begin drawing your legs outwards in a controlled movement. Once you are in a position that is just outside of your comfort zone, hold the pose for 2-5 seconds and then return to the starting position. Do this for 10–15 reps for 3 sets.
- Dog and Bird
This is an exercise that helps build balance and tests how strong your pelvic floor muscles are. The bird dog exercise for the pelvic floor works wonderfully on full-body.
Muscles in use: abs, back, hips, glutes, and pelvic floor muscles
Equipment required: none
Start by going down on the ground on all fours (dog). Now straighten your back and neck. Once you are settled, draw your shoulder in toward your belly. Once you are in the said position, lift your left leg and right arm whilst keeping your head, shoulders, and pelvis muscles in a neutral position. Hold for 2 seconds. Now follow the starting position and go back to the resting position. Once you are in the starting position, raise your right leg and left arm, this will complete 1 rep. Complete three sets of 10 all-out reps.
Your pelvic muscles are extremely important and perform a variety of critical everyday functions that help with everything from posture, flexibility, and balance to allowing you to have full control over your bladder, bowels, and a whole host of organs in your abdominal region. Do not ignore or neglect them. If your pelvic floor muscles need strengthening, these simple exercises can go a long way to help, do not need you to invest in special equipment, can be done anywhere, and barely take any time. They’re simple, effective, and super convenient, just the way we like them.