As an experienced physiotherapist and fitness professional focusing on in pre- and postnatal care, one of the things that I’m most passionate about helping women stay fit and active throughout their pregnancy and into motherhood.
Many of the mums I work with are keen to lose weight, tone up, lose the mummy tummy, get back in shape and feel like themselves again. Those that take their time and prioritise their inner before doing more intense exercise do far better, in terms of getting the results they’re after in addition to preventing long-term issues.
Did you know that 1 in 3 women suffer pelvic floor issues after birth?
That’s a fair few of us! It is essential to start working on your pelvic floor exercises to recover properly from pregnancy and childbirth and have good foundations to conquer more intense workouts (or just for daily life!).
A weakened pelvic can place you at risk of a range of pelvic dysfunction symptoms – such as urinary leakage with coughing, sneezing and exercise, urinary urgency (when you’re busting for the toilet and feel like you can’t make it on time), back pain and pelvic organ prolapse (where your pelvic organs start to drop down). That’s why it’s really important to make pelvic floor exercises a priority.
It’s amazing how much strength and control we really lose after pregnancy and childbirth and everyone (from complete beginners to elite athletes) needs to start from the beginning, in the right way. The great news is: there’s plenty you can to do to ensure healthy pelvic floor strength and function.
How to improve pelvic floor strength and function
Breathing normally and keeping your posture tall, tighten and lift around your back and front passage, as if you are holding on to go to the toilet. You may feel your lower abdominal muscles draw in at the same time, as these muscles work together. Do 5 lifts, 3 times every day and a long hold of up to 10 seconds, daily.
You can do this Pelvic Floor Exercise ANYWHERE: sitting at your desk at work, watching TV at home, standing at the bus stop, in traffic and of course at the gym – and no-one will even have the slightest idea of what you are doing! Make it a part of your daily routine (like brushing your teeth) as it will only take a few minute minutes. If in doubt, seek help from a physiotherapist who has experience with postnatal recovery.
Shira Kramer is the founder of BeActive Physio in Melbourne and an industry leader in exercise programming (Restore Your Core 8-week online program) for pre- and post-natal women. She has a passion for empowering mums to cope with the physical demands of motherhood and inspiring women to live and breathe active lives.