If you’ve decided that you’re ready to try for a baby, it’s never too soon to start preparing.
We know that child birth is a miraculous affair, but there’s no denying it, it’s not all smiles! You may be ‘glowing’, but sometimes that will just be because you’re hot, sweaty, and generally irritable. It should therefore come as no surprise that during pregnancy, and indeed childbirth, the body will be put under immense strain in order to accommodate that beautiful little life growing inside you. So how do you prepare your body for what it is about to endure?
You will find a myriad of information all over the web, offering pregnancy advice and tips for preconception. The majority of which follows the same principle; eat healthily, exercise, take vitamins, and stop drinking/smoking. This is excellent counsel, which will undoubtedly make conception easier and provide a healthier environment for your baby over the next nine months. But, what about readying your body for this great physical challenge that it is about to undertake?
Pregnancy puts a great deal of pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, which expand to make room for your growing baby. The pelvic floor is made up of muscles, ligaments and fibres, which stretch like a tight sling from the pubic bone to the base of the spine. Not only do they have control over urinary and bowel movements, they stabilise the spine and pelvis, whilst supporting all of the pelvic organs. Typically the pelvic floor holds approximately 20lbs of weight, and during pregnancy this increases dramatically. Stretching your pelvic floor to the limit.
As such, a weak pelvic floor can increase the risk of episiotomy or perineal tearing during childbirth, as well as stress incontinence, sexual dysfunction and even pelvic organ prolapse after the birth of your baby.
If you would like to read more about pregnancy and the pelvic floor click here
So strengthening your pelvic floor muscles prior to pregnancy (and after) should be looked upon as a preventative measure. The pelvic muscles are stressed throughout pregnancy due to the additional weight, but they can also be weakened by pregnancy hormones. Not only will having a stronger pelvic floor train your body to cope with the effects of carrying a baby, it also reduces the likelihood of encountering pelvic dysfunction as a result of labour itself.
Perineal tearing is always a risk during childbirth, however the stronger your muscles are, the less likely, and the less severe, it is expected to be. In cases where there is a need for episiotomy, women find that it takes the body much longer to recover. By keeping your pelvic floor strong, this is hopefully something that can be avoided.
In extreme cases, where labour has been very traumatic, it is possible that pelvic organ prolapse can occur. This is where one or more of the pelvic organs move downwards into the vagina. Many women are not aware that this condition exists, which is particularly disheartening since steps can be taken to try and prevent it.
Perhaps the most common problem associated with pregnancy and childbirth is stress incontinence (leaking when coughing, sneezing, laughing, running, bending over, lifting etc.). Research suggests that 1 in 3 new moms will suffer with this. A strong pelvic floor prior to pregnancy improves the chances of not being in this bracket.
Learn more about stress incontinence here
We hope that you’re not feeling at all discouraged or overwhelmed, after all you’re about to embark on the journey of a lifetime, parenthood.
All you need to remember is; it’s never too soon to ‘be prepared’!
How can I strengthen my pelvic floor prior to pregnancy?
If you consider the training required for long distance running/cycling or even mountain climbing, it is clear that a certain amount of body conditioning is essential for any major physical activity. Why then, do we so often go into pregnancy, the most strenuous physical activity we will ever endure, without any preparation at all? Well, hopefully this is about to change!
Firstly, it is imperative to locate exactly where the pelvic floor is in the body. The easiest way to do this is to stop yourself mid-stream next time you go to the toilet. The muscles used to stop the flow of urine make up part of the pelvic floor. Only do this once and no more to ascertain the location of your pelvic floor muscles.
Now you know exactly where they are, there are many Kegel exercises you can perform to strengthen your pelvic floor prior to pregnancy.
Try the following as part of your pre-pregnancy exercise regime (stand, sit or lie in a comfortable position):
Squeeze your anal passage as if restricting wind
Squeeze the urethra as if stopping the flow of urine
And if lying down squeeze the pelvic floor muscles, lifting inwards and upwards
These exercises should be performed several times a day for best results (Learn more about how to do Kegel exercises).
Kegel8 can help
The new Kegel8 Mother Nurture Electronic Pelvic Toner and Labour TENS machine is not only designed to strengthen the pelvic floor prior to pregnancy, it also delivers TENS pain relief during labour and rebuilds muscle strength after giving birth. So, whether you’re planning to fall pregnant or just want to get back to your pre-baby self this unit is the perfect choice to aid your pre-natal preparation and post-natal recovery, whilst getting you in shape!
Although manual exercises are highly beneficial, they may not strengthen all of the muscles that make the pelvic floor. In fact, manual pelvic floor exercises target just 40% of this muscle group versus using an electronic pelvic floor exerciser, which can target 90%.
Manual pelvic floor exercises can also be performed incorrectly. This can lead to increased pressure on the pelvic floor and abdomen. Research suggests that over 50% of women don’t understand how to perform an effective pelvic floor muscle contraction. If you are concerned about carrying out pelvic floor exercises after childbirth, our Kegel8 Mother Nurture Electronic Pelvic Toner and Labour TENS could be the perfect solution for you.
A weak pelvic floor can increase the risk of episiotomy or perineal tearing during childbirth, as well as stress incontinence, sexual dysfunction and even pelvic organ prolapse after the birth of your baby.
If you are concerned about any of the above challenges, Mother Nurture is here to help you get through them.
The Kegel8 Mother Nurture works simply with the insertion of a probe to strengthen and tone the pelvic floor muscles. We recommend using it once or twice daily for optimum results.
To read more about Kegel8 Mother Nurture Electronic Pelvic Toner and Labour TENS click here
Original article: Kegel8 Website