I work with a ton of women that throughout their pregnancy process, are really focused on maintaining strength, working their whole core system and making sure their pelvic floor is staying strong, but when we get to that 30 to 34 week mark on pregnancy, we really want to shift our focus from strength to relaxation when it comes to the pelvic floor. In order for baby to come out, we need our pelvic floor muscles to have the ability to relax, drop, melts, open. If we think about our pelvic floor when we think about strengthening, we’re thinking about those three layers of muscles that are at the base of our core system that run from our pubic bone in the front to our tailbone in the back. When we think about doing a pelvic floor contraction, we think about closing and then lifting those muscles up. That is the opposite of what we are trying to do when we’re trying to push the baby out. Our pelvic floor muscles do not help us push our baby out at all. We need them to be able to open and relax to allow a baby to come out. It’s the uterus’s job to push the baby out.
Once we hit the 32 week mark, I’ll work with clients on focusing more on the relaxation piece. We use our inhale to do that. On an inhale, we want our bellies and our transverse abdominis (our really deep core muscle) to relax – to go out – and our pelvic floor to lengthen – for it to drop or melt – and then just exhale as normal. When you inhale, think about things opening and relaxing, and then exhale.
Then we worked on this in a variety of positions. One of those can be Child’s Pose, if that’s still comfortable for you. Toes come in, knees go wide, walking your hands forward, sitting your hips back, and then taking eight to 10 breaths here where you’re just focused on the inhale, relaxing your belly and relaxing your pelvic floor.
Another good position is hands and knees. You can use a chair or a ball. Put your hands up on the ball, have your knees come in and your feet go out wide, sink your hips down and back and think about those pelvic floor muscles opening and relaxing in this position.
Another good position that I’ll have people try is laying on their side, and again, using a chair or a ball, propping your leg up on the ball, just relax and think about taking those good breaths, inhale, let your belly relax, pelvic floor muscles open and melt.
Those are just a few different positions that I will put clients in to help them really start to turn their focus to let their pelvic floor relax and open to allow for that baby to come out.
Here at Peak Endurance Performance & Physical Therapy we help active adults in the Madison Area get back to the activities they love without pain or limitations. We see people of all ages, ability levels, and individuals trying to get back to a multitude of movements including: getting back into running, women postpartum, CrossFit athletes, climbers, gymnasts, wrestlers, overhead athletes, and your recreational weekend warrior. If you’re looking to get back to the activities that give you meaning, relieve stress, and make you feel like you again, feel free to reach out below and we’ll see if we’re the right fit for you.