Recently we started our mums and babies class. One of my favourite things about this class is that often the mums who come are very motivated to learn! Today I’ll share some of the topics we have covered so far and some helpful strategies that you can use to protect your pelvic floor after giving birth. Kegel’s, otherwise known as pelvic floor exercises, get a lot of publicity as being the be-all and end-all of pelvic health issues ! Although they can be helpful in some cases, there are several other strategies that are equally important in maintaining a healthy pelvic floor.
- The importance of safe lifting:
People who have physical jobs have probably heard this one a lot and it is still so important ! Repeated heavy lifting in the correct fashion will exert a downward pressure on your pelvic floor causing weakness over time. To optimise the safety of your lifting, follow these tips below:
- Ensure whatever you are lifting isn’t too much for your body (if you have to breath hold or strain- its too heavy for your body!)
- Lift from waist height
- Keep your back straight and use your legs
- Get as close as possible to object before lifting it, you may need to slide it first
- Don’t hold your breath!
- The benefits of just walking more:
Did you know that as a society, we tend to sit more nowadays then we did 50 years ago? This causes our glutes (our bottom muscles) to get weak. Our glutes are crucial in keeping our pelvic floor strong and healthy too and so an easy way to enhance our pelvic floor is to increase our daily walking distance. Try parking further away from the grocery store, walking and listening to an audiobook or walking with a friend at the park to catch up. Walking outside is much better than walking on a treadmill, since our glutes have much less work to do when the ground beneath you is moving!
- Let your tummy go!
Some women suck their stomach in without even realising it. Or wear tight pants that prevent their diaphragm muscle from working to allow healthy breathing. When you do this often, you place a lot of undue pressure on your back and pelvic floor and this accumulated pressure has to escape somewhere! It is hard for mums who are trying to lose weight and feel self conscious about their stomach. However, constantly sucking the whole belly in to try to make it look flat won’t help in the long run and could cause more problems. If you suspect you might be doing this, place your hands on your stomach just either side of your navel. When you breathe in, let go of your stomach by letting it go in to your hands. When you breathe out, let the stomach relax. Often throughout the day, do ‘self checks’ to ensure you’re keeping your stomach relaxed!
We hope these tips have helped you.
If you are interested in getting more women’s health advice, Jasmine Willadsen, our women’s health physiotherapist would love to see you. To book an appointment, please call (07)5462 1131 at Marina Crichton Physiotherapy