A healthy pelvic floor is fundamental to the well-being of all women throughout life, especially in the period that involves a pregnancy . It is important that you know what this anatomical region consists of, what its function is and how to optimize it through physical exercise.
I am a mother of 4 daughters, so I know how important it is to keep the pelvic floor and core functional after delivery . So in this article, I intend to help you be more informed about the topic and give you some tips related to pregnancy.
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is composed of a thin layer of muscle fibers and connective tissue, constituting the base of the abdominal cavity , between the pubic symphysis and the sacrum. It is divided into two types of muscle structures:
- Pelvic diaphragm : responsible for supporting the vagina and rectum;
- Urogenital diaphragm : responsible for supporting the organs in the pelvic cavity (bladder, uterus and intestine). >
The pelvic floor muscles act in conjunction with the thoracic diaphragm . Since they are interdependent, to maintain their function they must be properly aligned. For this reason, both posture and breath play a fundamental role in the functionality of the pelvic area muscles.
How important is this muscle group?
The pelvic floor is an element of core , having multiple and important functions in women’s bodies:
- Supports the contents of the abdominal cavity;
- Maintains control of the sphincters;
- Is responsible for sexual function and pleasure;
- It is an important muscle group for the stability of the pelvis.
Many women are unaware of how these muscles work. However, mastering a conscious activation of the pelvic area muscles can be a powerful tool! This is because it allows abdominal wall training to be more effective, which brings many other advantages.
The main cause of dysfunction or inefficiency of the pelvic floor is related to the loss of propriocetivity or lack of knowledge of these structures and their functions.
The voluntary contraction of the muscles of the pelvic floor must be well worked out. To develop your strength, specific training is necessary, which will also increase the degree of knowledge and awareness of the different types of contraction.
The pelvic floor before, during and after pregnancy
All stages of pregnancy are unique in a woman’s life, from the moment she starts trying to conceive to post-recovery childbirth . Throughout this period, there is a greater attunement with your body. They are ideal moments for the woman to develop awareness of the pelvic floor, as well as all of its core .
So, be aware of some advice that you should try to follow along these 3 phases: before, during and after pregnancy.
Before becoming pregnant
- Adopting a correct posture
Many women unconsciously accumulate high tension in their bodies, especially on the pelvic floor. To become pregnant, it is necessary to eliminate the sources of tension to ensure proper blood circulation in this area.
To improve your posture, you should avoid putting your buttocks in while standing or sitting. This practice causes shortening and a consequent weakening of the muscles .
The theme of breathing is often devalued, as it is such a natural and automatic act. However, we are not always breathing the right way. The pelvic floor and the diaphragm work in sync, so it is important to ensure that the breathing patterns are adequate.
As the belly grows, it is normal for your posture to change, reducing support. By giving in to the tendency to bend your lower back and relax your shoulders, you will be preventing core muscles from working properly. back pain and even urinary incontinence can result from this incorrect position.
Thus, during pregnancy, it is necessary to strive to maintain the best possible posture. The benefits will be greater activation of the multifidus and the transversus abdominis muscles. It will also ensure that belly growth causes less pressure on the skin, abdominal wall and ligaments.
- Take a proper breath
As the pregnancy progresses, breathing becomes different. Stopping breathing using your diaphragm will reflect on your health and well-being . When you do not breathe deeply, your organs do not function optimally, causing a negative impact on your health.
- Activate the pelvic floor
There are certain actions that favor the strengthening and stabilization of the core muscles. It is important to activate the pelvic floor musculature and exhale through your mouth whenever you pick up weights. You should also apply this advice when getting up from a squat or lunge .
On the other hand, you should avoid holding your breath during an effort (apnea). This is because this practice increases pressure in the pelvic area, which can cause pain in the lower back or hip, incontinence, abdominal diastasis or even hemorrhoids.
- Relaxing and stretching the pelvic area
In the final stage of pregnancy, when the baby is already upside down, it is essential to lengthen the pelvic floor for preparation for delivery . The supported squat is a great way to stretch and relax these muscles. You should breathe through your mouth and nose and visualize the pelvic area stretching and slowly relaxing on inspiration.
In the postpartum
- Prevent urinary incontinence
Regardless of the type of delivery, developing urinary incontinence is not a normal condition. During pregnancy, the abdominal cavity muscles lose strength and have to be strengthened. specific exercises should be performed that take into account bodily changes resulting from pregnancy. An adequate exercise prescription will gradually enable you to train without any restrictions.
You don’t need to have a lot of free time or follow a demanding plan to get results. You can take care of yourself, your health and your pelvic floor with workouts for 10 to 30 minutes a day . Doing so will achieve results faster than you can imagine. After starting a training program appropriate to your goals, you will notice aesthetic changes, internal and in terms of your well-being.
If you want to know more about this topic, download my free Pelvic Floor Mini Course. To stay abreast of more exercise tips, nutrition and healthy living, follow the blog Oito.Um!