Pelvic Floor Exercises for Pregnant Women

27th February 2020
Pelvic floor work should be routine in the exercise program of any woman, but it's even more important during pregnancy.

In the realm of physical fitness, personal training, and physiotherapy, there’s a big problem: women don’t often know how important the pelvic floor is. This kind of exercise should be a part of any exercise routine for women. And really, whether or not they exercise regularly, women should be doing this habitually.

That said, there’s a special group in this population that should especially focus on this: pregnant women. If a woman wants to reach labor in the best condition, then she’ll need to follow this advice. Before getting in too deep, however, let’s talk about what you should know regarding this part of the body!

The pelvic floor

This part of the body is situated in the lower part of the pelvis. Different organs, muscles, and ligaments make it up, and this is part of its importance. According to various authors, the pelvic floor:

  • On a muscular level: the coccygeal plexus, the ani levator, and the pelvic diaphragm
  • Organs: in the middle zone is the uterus in women and the prostate in men. In the front part are the bladder and the urethra, while in the back is the rectum and anal duct.

Injuries in the pelvic floor during pregnancy

The pelvic floor is a region of the body that tends to weaken during pregnancy. This is because the uterus has to support more weight than it’s used to. At the same time, it has a hormonal disadvantage since pregnancy hormones act as a muscle relaxant.

A pregnant woman exercising.

As a result of all of this, injury is possible during labor. This could be because of the force and stress of delivery.

Weight gain during pregnancy affects how much the uterus must support, and that’s how the pelvic floor can become damaged. Additionally, as a result of the reduction of physical activity and movement during this time, constipation might result. This causes the pelvic muscles to undergo great effort.

For the damage to the pelvic floor to be as low as possible, it’s necessary to follow a series of guidelines. If pregnant women do this, they’ll arrive at labor in the best condition possible.

Importance of exercising the transverse abdominal muscle

If you want to exercise your pelvic floor, it’s important to know the function of certain segments and muscles. This is where the key muscle for good pelvic exercises comes in: the transverse abdominal muscle.

The exercise of this area is essential for doing Kegel exercises properly. These exercises consist of the quick contraction and relaxation of the pelvic muscles, which strongly exercise the pelvic floor. This exercise of the transverse abdominal muscle makes sure the organs of the pelvis, the pelvic rings, and the bladder all stay in place.

To do the exercise correctly, it’s key to tighten as if you were wearing a girdle, making the perimeter of the waist to decrease. This will keep your lumbar from suffering when you do these pelvic floor exercises.

Guidelines to care for the pelvic floor during pregnancy

  • Make sure your posture is good. It’s very important to make sure you have good lumbar support since it’ll help to avoid future injuries that labor can cause.
  • Surround yourself with trusted professionals. See a specialist who can guide you in this process. Hypopressive work during this time is also good at keeping your pelvic floor in the best condition, both before and after labor.
  • Maintain an active daily routine. This, of course, doesn’t apply in cases where the doctor has recommended bed rest.
A pregnant woman walking and drinking water.

  • Watch your diet. During this time, it’s important to maintain a balanced diet to avoid constipation, which can cause alterations in the pelvic floor as a result of too much strain.
  • Avoid contact sports. During this time, you shouldn’t cause any excessive stress on the perineum. Swimming or riding a bicycle, for example, are good alternatives if you want to keep exercising.

Conclusion

As you’ve read, working the pelvic floor plays a fundamental role in pregnancy and in postpartum. Follow the guidelines above and you’ll have a strong pelvic floor. Make sure, of course, to never disregard the recommendations of your doctor, and always consult a professional before changing your diet or exercise routines.

  • Carrillo, G. & Sanguineti, A. (2013). Anatomía del suelo pélvico. Revista de medicina clínica. 24 (2), 185 – 189.
  • Nygaard IE, Shaw JM. Physical activity and the pelvic floor. Am J Obstet Gynecol. febrero de 2016;214(2):164-71.