When it comes to training the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy and after birth, I’m here to tell you, as a trained Ante/Postnatal Fitness Expert who keeps her education and skills fresh and up-to-date, things in recent years have most definitely changed.
Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles for postnatal women should be of paramount importance. No news there.
Keeping the pelvic floor muscles in check during pregnancy is vital too. Again, no surprises.
Stress incontinence (that’s where you when you laugh, cough, sneeze or do exercise and a bit of wee or poo comes out too), is quite common with 30% of new mums suffering with the condition for up to 3 months after birth.
It’s actually probably higher than that figure truthfully though.
In one recent study, it’s predicted that up to 80% of women in the US will suffer with some form of pelvic floor dysfunction at some point in their lives, unless something is done pronto!
I think you’d agree – Houston, we have a problem!
The good news is though, extensive research and testing has been done in recent years to find out more about how the pelvic floor functions; how it becomes weakened; and what causes dysfunction within it.
Let me explain in a little more detail why my approach to pelvic floor education is different, and why you need to change yours too:
1. WHEN CLIENTS LEAK, IT’S OFTEN ON MOVEMENT
When someone suffers the embarrassment of leakage of urine or faeces, it’s also often associated with movement.
This could be just in day-to-day activities:
- when you run up/downstairs without thinking,
- you chase after your toddler/baby,
- you pick up a heavy object too quickly,
- you do exercise and notice you leak etc
Nowadays, we train the pelvic floor muscles WITH movement.
2. FULL-BODY APPROACH
So, if we take the findings from above where we know that stress incontinence is linked to not just laughing/coughing/sneezing, but also when we move our body, then you’ll be pleased to know that nowadays we’re adopting a full-body approach to exercise and the pelvic floor.
Doing movement-based exercise which incorporates an involuntary bit of work for pelvic floor muscles during movement, means it’s a win-win, isn’t it?
Alignment plays a huge role in someone’s recovery too, so unless you focus on improving your clients’ posture, educate them about the importance of getting re-aligned and update your own knowledge, then you too may become one of those 80% of women.
3. YOUR BUM MIGHT JUST HOLD THE ANSWER
There’s definitely a connection between strengthening your glute (butt) muscles and strengthening the pelvic floor and/or rehabilitating your clients with pelvic floor dysfunction.
The way we train the pelvic floor nowadays also means there’s a bit of booty work going off too. What’s not to like there, eh?
With clients sitting down for the majority of their day, and the stark realisation that we’re harnessing a generation of ineffective butts and tailbone tuckers, this is not good news for the pelvic floor, or the butt.
Because of this excessive seated position that our clients are sat in for hours and hours and hours, put simply, it means their pelvic floor is tight and weak.
And, remember, a tight muscle is a dysfunctional one. As is a weak muscle too, isn’t it?
The number of times I have to tell clients that a tight pelvic floor is NOT good, particularly if they’re pregnant and in a few months’ time they’re about to ask a baby to kindly and gently come out through their own vagina.
Due to non-optimal, poor postural arrangements that are often demonstrated during seated, the tailbone is often tucked under, bringing the sacrum closer to the pubic bone. Think about this position for a moment, and where the attachments of the pelvic floor muscles are: the sacrum and the pubic bone, aren’t they?
If a client’s pelvic floor is placed in this position too often where the sacrum is closer to the pubic bone, this is when dysfunction often occurs because a) the pelvic floor is becoming tighter and tighter, and b) there’s no load on the pelvic floor muscles when you’re body’s in a seated position.
When you stand up, well – that’s a different story, isn’t it? Your pelvic floor should be strong enough to hold your internal organs in, and it does that successfully (in most cases, hopefully), unless there’s dysfunction.
4. SQUEEZE YOUR LADY BITS 100 TIMES A DAY AND YOUR PROBLEMS WILL DISAPPEAR
Over-doing it on the old school ‘squeeze and release’ and ‘draw up and hold’ Kegel exercises isn’t necessarily the answer.
Interesting to note that ‘Kegels’ were invented by Dr Kegel (a man) in the 1940’s, and it goes without saying that they did revolutionise pelvic floor health at the time. But, why is it that all things vagina-related have men rather than women credited? Sorry, I digress….
Let me explain: if there’s dysfunction in your pelvic floor muscles like:
a) stress incontinence,
b) the pelvic floor’s tight through excessive sitting,
c) you’ve had a prolapse, or
d) perhaps there’s asymmetry in the muscles following childbirth etc.
….Then squeezing your lady bits as though your life depended on it, is pretty much pointless.
The same goes for exercising the pelvic floor during pregnancy too. This is because whilst doing a ‘squeeze’ without putting the pelvic floor muscles in a more optimum position and/or muscular length eg in standing preferably with the sacrum aligned away from the pubic bone as opposed to sitting on your tailbone on a chair, it’s just making the pelvic floor tighter and tighter (and contrastingly, also weaker and weaker).
What the pelvic floor needs during pregnancy and after birth, is a good old stretch out to remain ‘flexible’ to facilitate childbirth, and you can’t get strength and/or apply load or force to a muscle if it’s in a tightened, weakened state.
The butt wants the work out here too, as explained above to pull the sacrum back into its correct alignment.
- Are you finding the progress that you’re getting with your pelvic floor rehab clients to be slower than you’d hoped?
- Would you like to add a pelvic floor exercise class to your timetable?
- Do you lack the confidence to structure a lesson, taking into consideration all of the different types of pelvic floor dysfunction there are out there?
- Would you like to learn a series of exercises that get clients life-changing results?!
Well, I can help because doors to my Your Pelvic Matters Teacher Training program open again in October 2018.
…and add a series of exercises to your repertoire that really work…
Sign up below to be the first to hear when door open again, so you can learn exactly what techniques I use with my own clients…
…that produce results (from as quickly as 4 days!).