Squeeze and lift: How to strengthen pelvic floor muscles

How to take care of your pelvic floor during pregnancy

When you’re pregnant you will get given lots of great advice, but if there’s one-piece that’s worth listening to it is ‘don’t ignore your pelvic floor’.

Your pelvic floor muscles take quite a battering during pregnancy and can become weak and cause incontinence. Knowing how to take care of your pelvic floor is so important. Doing daily exercises will help in the recovery of pelvic floor muscle function and bladder control after your baby is born.

So if you’re determined to be able to bounce happily on the trampoline with your kids, here’s all you need to know about looking after your pelvic floor.

How to find which muscles to train

The first thing to do is to find out which muscles you need to train. Here are two things you can try:

  • Sit or lie down with all your muscles relaxed. Then squeeze all the inside muscles as if you are trying to stop passing wind. Now relax this muscle. Squeeze and let go a couple of times to be sure you have found the right muscles. Remember, do not squeeze your buttocks, just the inside muscles.
  • When sitting on the toilet, stop the stream of wee mid way. Then start your stream again. This should help you learn which muscles are the right ones to squeeze.

Pelvic floor exercises for pregnant women

Squeeze and draw in your pelvic floor muscles at the same time. Lift them up high inside so you feel a sense of lift each time you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. Hold them strong and tight as you count to eight. Then, let them go and relax. You should have a distinct feeling of letting go.

Repeat this squeeze and lift as many times as you can. Aim to do between eight to twelve squeezes each set.

Hint: While doing pelvic floor muscle training do not hold your breath or tighten your buttocks, only squeeze and lift keeping your thighs relaxed.

Make pelvic floor training part of your everyday

Right now there are women beside you doing their pelvic floors and you’re none the wiser. Try and make it part of your daily life and it will become a lifelong habit.

Try doing your exercises when:

  • You’re stopped at the traffic lights
  • Waiting at the checkout
  • Sending a text message
  • During advert breaks on TV

Hint: If you’ve got a fitness band set an alarm to go every hour as a reminder to do your pelvic floor exercises.

 

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