“Kegel exercise, also known as pelvic floor exercise, consists of repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor, now sometimes colloquially referred to as the "Kegel muscles". The exercise can be performed multiple times each day, for several minutes at a time, for one to three months, to begin to have an effect.”
While pregnant, and into postpartum your health practitioner may recommend Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Although widely suggested, it is not recommended from a Yoga/Pilates Instructor perspective. Unless you have been to a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist to examine your pelvic floor, you may be doing more harm than good by doing Kegels.
Kegels will NOT benefit a hypertonic (too tight) pelvic floor. Doing Kegels under these circumstances will compound your pelvic floor problems. As an alternative to kegels for pelvic floor strengthening, we recommend the following:
Moving with mindfulness for overall healthy postpartum healing. Our posture and alignment have a profound effect on our overall health pre and post baby and beyond. Keeping our bodies in a neutral alignment, avoiding slumping down when we're sitting, as this causes pressure systems in the core and pelvic floor. Remembering to roll to our side when lying down or sitting up, are a few ways to avoid a weak core and pelvic floor muscles after having your baby.
To restore proper function in the core after having a baby we must reawaken the intrinsic muscles of the trunk. If these muscles are not working properly, this can inhibit the overall function of the core muscles. Possibly causing problems in the long run. (think wearing depends at 50!!)
Breathing properly also has an adverse effect on our healing and pelvic floor health. Our bodies need to be able to expand and contract properly for the amount of work the body takes on. Practicing this breathing technique throughout the day will assist your body in the healing process. Breathing through the rib cage- inhale wide and down - exhale lifting from the pelvic floor.
Another great way to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles is squats. They are just about the best thing you can do postpartum. We want to remember to stay in neutral alignment. You challenge yourself by placing a small pilates ball in between your thighs to wake up the adductors. The femurs stay way back in the hips joints and we lengthen through the glutes. inhale - down - exhale up. you can also support your self-using the kitchen counter, or the back of a chair.
-Melissa & Maria
Huron Birth Blog
Our blog will encompass our current happenings, findings, pictures, musings, and guest blog posts on an array of parenting topics.