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A FREE guide to your Pelvic Floor

Many women first become aware and start to think about their pelvic floor muscles

when they become pregnant. The pelvic floor muscles are an amazingly supportive

muscle sling, that forms the base of your pelvis. They help to support your

pelvic organs (bladder, rectum and uterus) and a growing baby whilst pregnant.

Ways to find them

1. Blow. Sit upright and supported. Inhale through your nose and exhale through

pursed lips (as if you are blowing through a thin straw. As you exhale, you may feel these

pelvic floor foundations switching on.

2. Feel. You can place a clean finger or 2 inside your vagina. As you exhale, try to

tighten around your back passage and the finger. Inhale to relax. Did you feel the

muscles tighten around your finger?

3. See. Place your hand lightly over your perineum (the area between the vagina and

your anal opening) or look at this area with a mirror. As you exhale, gather, and lift your

back passage and vaginal opening. Does the perineum lift gently from your fingers?

If you are still struggling to locate/activate them- you can try a Neen Pelvic Floor Educator,

available online. This is a cheap and effective visual feedback device.

Ok, you found them, what do you do with them?

Practice gathering them up as you exhale and relaxing them as you inhale (breathe down

into your pelvic floor). This will help to keep your pelvic floor co-ordinated. You can do

some extra reps of this to build up some strength.

PF relaxation is also essential for normal function and learning how to relax and release

your PF muscles can be especially useful prior to vaginal birth. It will also

be valuable for postnatal pelvic floor recovery after a vaginal or C section birth.

My tips on how to relax your pelvic floor

Deep belly breathing.

Self-perineal massage/stretching.

YOGA, yes really! Postures like child pose stretch, a deep relaxed squat, hip stretches, and happy baby are great for this.

Day-to-day signs that the pelvic floor isn’t functioning properly are:

Pain in pelvis/perineum

Persistent painful sex

Leaking urine or faeces

Not fully voiding bladder

A frequent heavy feeling in your vagina

A feeling of a bulge inside the vagina

Day-to-day signs that the pelvic floor isn’t functioning properly are:

After the early postnatal days have passed, you can take an inventory of your

vulva and vagina. Wait for about 6-8 weeks after birth to do the self-check, when the lochia and any swelling has settled. You can lie propped up with some pillows and use a mirror to look at your vulva, perineum and vagina. Touch the labia and perineum and labia, move them gently, do they hurt? Do they pull?

Try a pelvic floor contraction during your self-check. If this feels weak- then try some pelvic floor strengthening exercises. If it feels painful or tight, then spend some time breathing deeply and relaxing your pelvic floor so you see the perineum drop and let go a little.

A mummy MOT/postnatal check with a pelvic health physio can be a great way to assess

your pelvic floor after pregnancy, help you with any of the signs mentioned above

and get you on the right track for recovery. Joining a postnatal yoga class to help you safely connect with your pelvic floor and help you rebuild your core is one of the safest exercises you can do after recovering from birth. Join one of my classes now for Mums & Baby Yoga to help you slowly build strength and stamina ready for the journey of motherhood ahead.

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