Pregnancy is very stressful for your pelvic floor, as it has to withstand increasing pressure during pregnancy. If the pelvic floor is stable, the muscles of the pelvic floor can better support the weight of the uterus and baby. Training the pelvic floor during pregnancy strengthens the pelvic floor muscles, but also makes them elastic. An elastic pelvic floor can adapt better to the growth of the baby and is just as important for the later birth.
Pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy protect against incontinence, which can often occur in the last trimester of pregnancy. This risk is particularly high if the muscles have not been prepared before and during pregnancy by regular and targeted pelvic floor training and the pressure on the bladder increases. If the pelvic floor muscles are weakened or injured after delivery, these muscles can no longer work properly. The result is therefore often stress incontinence after birth. If there is stress such as sneezing, coughing, laughing or lifting weights, an unwanted leakage of urine occurs. About 30% of all mothers are affected by this after delivery.
Risks of an untrained pelvic floor
During pregnancy, an untrained pelvic floor bears risks that can be largely averted by early, targeted and consistent pelvic floor training. Avoidable effects here are above all:
- Uncontrolled urine leakage when sneezing, coughing and during physical exertion
- Postnatal incontinence
- Pelvic pain
- Back Pain
- Lowering of organs
- Sexual problems after pregnancy
Advantages of a trained pelvic floor for pregnancy
The trained pelvic floor offers many advantages for women at all stages of their lives. A well-trained, firm and elastic pelvic floor is particularly important during pregnancy and afterwards. Here are the advantages:
- The extra weight during pregnancy can be carried more easily
- Incontinence during pregnancy can be avoided
- Incontinence after delivery can be prevented
- The healing of the perineum after birth is faster
- The expulsion phase during birth is easier
Exercises for strengthening and relaxation - light pregnancy gymnastics
To keep you fit during pregnancy and to prepare your body optimally for the forthcoming birth, we recommend a few exercises for antenatal gymnastics below Repeat the exercises three to ten times a day and do them every day. Please note that, as a general rule, no more exercises should be performed in the prone or supine position after the 16th week of pregnancy.
Sit upright on the floor. Bend your legs so that the soles of your feet touch. Use your hands to pull your feet as close to your body as possible, piece by piece. Now slowly push your knees towards the floor, stretching your pelvic floor and the inside of your thighs.
LLie on your back. Stand with your feet relaxed, about shoulder width apart and place your arms next to your body as a support. Slowly lift your buttocks off the floor so that there is a straight line from your back to your knees. Hold this position for a while and then put your buttocks down again. This will relax your shoulders and upper back and at the same time strengthen your buttocks and thighs.
Sit loosely on your lower legs. Now bend your upper body slightly backwards so that you can support yourself on the palms of your hands. Now push your arms through and hold this position for a while before you stand up again. Relax your lower back and release the pressure in the shoulder area.
Stand on your four feet with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Now make a cat hump by rounding your back and lowering your head to look through your legs. Hold this position for a short moment and then let your back drop down. Stretch your bottom upwards. Now slowly bring your back into a straight position again. This exercise loosens your entire back and shoulders and trains the muscles of the abdomen.
Stand four-footed, arms shoulder width apart and knees hip width apart so that you have a firm grip. Now stretch one leg straight back. Your leg should be in line with your back. If you like, you can also stretch the arm on the opposite side straight forward as an additional exercise. Now hold this position for a while. Then do the same exercise with the other leg, if necessary also with the other arm. This exercise strengthens your back muscles immensely.
Sit cross-legged or do this exercise standing up. Keep your back straight. Stretch one arm upwards and bend it over your head. Tilt your upper body in the opposite direction, i.e. to the left when lifting your right arm and to the right when lifting your left arm. With the other arm, support yourself slightly on the floor if you are doing this exercise in a sitting position. Hold this position for a few seconds and then perform the exercise on the other side. This exercise stretches all the lateral muscles of the torso.
Stand upright with your legs slightly open. Now take your arms back and fold your hands. Stretch your arms and turn them so that the palms of your hands are facing outwards. Lean your back back slightly back and hold this position for a while. Shoulders and upper back will be relaxed by this exercise.
Stand up straight with your legs open to your hips. Now raise both arms in the air and stretch your entire body. Then bend all the way forward and let your arms hang down to the floor as far as possible. Shake your arms gently and loosely for a few seconds. This exercise relaxes your shoulders and the entire back.
Note: The exercises and information presented here have been carefully prepared with the advice of experts. Nevertheless, we cannot take personal circumstances and your state of health into account. We therefore accept no liability for disadvantages or damage resulting from the performance of the exercises presented here. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. You can reach us by phone at +49 7152 - 353 911 - 0 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
The pelvic floor during pregnancy
EPregnancy means a major physical change for the mother. Already from about the 12th week of pregnancy onwards, the muscles give way and stretch. Muscles, ligaments and tissue of the pelvic floor become looser to give room to the growing child. The vertical muscle strands of the abdomen give way and split in the middle. As the baby grows, the internal organs are pushed up, down or to the side, depending on their position.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy prepare the pelvic floor muscles for the forthcoming birth. The musculature becomes softer, although it has to carry an ever increasing weight. The amount of urine produced increases and the tension of the urethra decreases. At the same time, the pressure on the pregnant woman's bladder increases steadily due to the weight of the baby. As a result, a weak pelvic floor can quickly become overburdened, which can lead to slight incontinence, i.e. unintentional urine leakage.
Through pelvic floor training during pregnancy, you learn to control your pelvic floor and consciously relax it. Pelvic floor exercises and pelvic floor gymnastics during pregnancy are an important preparation for the birth and the period of later regression. Pelvic floor exercises for women after the so-called Kegel exercises make an important contribution to learning how to tense and relax the female pelvic floor muscles. Read more about Kegel exercises and how to perform them on our page on women's pelvic floor training.
A consciously induced relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles is particularly important in the second phase of birth, when the baby's head passes through the vagina. It helps the expectant mother and, above all, makes it easier for the baby to give birth in this phase.
With a trained pelvic floor, a perineal tear or episiotomy can often be avoided. The stretching of the perineum, the area between the anus and the vagina, can be additionally supported by a targeted massage.
The pelvic floor during birth
A relaxed and calm birth atmosphere supports, in addition to targeted pelvic floor training during pregnancy, the stretching ability of the pelvic floor muscles.
The relaxed behaviour of well-prepared mothers is beneficial in every respect, both for the progress of the birth and for the baby. If the mother has learned in advance to perceive her pelvic floor and to consciously relax it, the birth is made much easier. In this way the mother supports and helps the baby from the very beginning.
A well-trained pelvic floor is much more elastic. It gives way more easily when the baby's head stretches the pelvic floor muscles more and more as it moves through the cervix and vagina to the outside. This process is supported by the rhythmic contraction of the uterus, the contractions.
If the pelvic floor is not elastic, there is a risk of injury to the ligaments, muscles and tissues of the mother. For this reason, it is often necessary to cut through pelvic floor tissue, an episiotomy, to prevent tearing.
The pelvic floor after pregnancy and birth
Not only the new mother herself, but also the pelvic floor of her new mum needs four weeks of rest, protection and care. In the so-called puerperium bed, the uterus should slowly contract and heal again. The contraction of the uterus is often noticeable in the first days after delivery through increasingly lighter afterpains.
Especially after an episiotomy or a delivery by caesarean section, good and undisturbed wound healing is the most important thing at the beginning. This means that further regression can take place completely and without any problems afterwards.
To protect the pelvic floor and the bladder, please avoid the following in the first few weeks after giving birth:
- Heavy lifting
- Physically strenuous sports
- Standing up from the supine position with straight upper body
- Hold your breath during strenuous activities
Pelvic floor training after birth
Through pelvic floor training after birth, the pelvic floor must now be specifically relieved and rebuilt. Initially, light, regular training helps to regain the strength and responsiveness of the pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor muscles work together with the abdominal and back muscles, so these should now be included in the training. Approximately six weeks after delivery, the tissue is firm enough to allow the young mother to begin real regression exercises. In addition to the pelvic floor, all muscle groups of the back, abdomen, arms and legs are included in the training. The use of aids such as pelvic floor trainers is now possible again and can help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles more quickly.
But in any case, consistent and regular training and exercise is the best way to get fit again quickly after pregnancy and childbirth, while at the same time counteracting risk factors such as incontinence and lowering of the uterus or bladder.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions. You can reach us by phone at +49 7152 - 353 911 - 0 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.