The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles, ligaments and tendons that support the bladder, bowel and uterus at the base of the pelvis. People sometimes describe the pelvic floor muscles as being like a hammock for these vital organs.
There are many reasons why both men and women should exercise their pelvic floor muscles. For one – they control the bladder and bowel.
For pre- and post-natal women specifically, exercising the pelvic floor muscles before, during and after pregnancy can help with preventing injury and strain from carrying the weight of the baby and undergoing labor. Pelvic floor exercises have also been found to assist with preventing incontinence.
A pelvic floor physiotherapist can provide you with an individualized exercise program to help you connect with your pelvic floor muscles during your pregnancy.
In the meantime, here are some gentle Pilates-based exercises from Merrithew™ Lead Instructor Trainer Bianca Bolissian that you can do on your own or teach your clients to bring more awareness and connection to the pelvic floor muscles.
As Bianca explains, it’s important to work the pelvic floor muscles through both the concentric and eccentric phases of the movement to both strengthen the muscles and learn how to release and relax them.
What are the benefits of strengthening the pelvic floor muscles?
- Support bladder and bowel
- Improve bladder and bowel control
- Reduce the likelihood of leakage
- Reduce the risk of prolapse (when organs sag or droop out of their normal position)
- Improve recovery from childbirth
Remember to ensure your client consults and is cleared by their health care practitioner before beginning any new exercise program.
Find more pre-natal workouts on Merrithew Connect™. Join now and get 14 days free >