Pebbles in the Pond – Imagery for Pelvic Floor Strengthening
The pelvic floor hammock at the base of your pelvis can be divided into deep and superficial layers. There are many muscles making up this hammock and we know that stretching of the muscle tissues in pregnancy and tearing or episiotomies in vaginal births can traumatise the muscle tissue. This is why we must exercise to retrain and restrengthen this very important part of our body.
With natural vaginal births, potential damage occurs mostly at the superficial layers, so targeting your exercises to this layer is important. The superficial layers are pretty much the muscles that you see if you were to look at your vagina (and nearby areas) with a mirror. Aiming for a ‘closing’ sensation at the urethra and vagina is the key, followed by the ‘lifting’ feeling of the entire pelvic floor (urethra, vagina and anus). This will best strengthen those muscles of the pelvic floor that have suffered most from birthing.
So what about this pebble in the pond? Let me explain.
Can you imagine the picture of a still pond and a pebble falling into its centre? Picture the concentric circles of the ripples spreading out to the edges of the pond. Now reverse this picture, so you can see the ripples moving back evenly to the centre of the pond and the pebble lifting out from the water’s surface.
This reversed picture is your pelvic floor contraction!
Quietly lying on your back with your knees bent or sitting comfortably, imagine this picture as you very gently activate your pelvic floor muscles. Don’t try too hard – just begin with a small and easy contraction. Try to sense that you are gently ‘closing’ or ‘squeezing’ the front passage or vagina opening close, followed by a ‘lifting’ sensation of the muscles up towards your navel. Remember the concentric circles of the ripples coming closer together evenly to really visualise drawing the muscles together around your vagina from all directions. Watch that you keep your buttocks soft and relaxed and keep breathing.
When you feel you have mastered this contraction, make each and every pelvic floor contraction feel this way. Remember, ‘close’ then ‘lift’.
Mastering this feeling is often very hard for new mothers. If you have not ‘got it’, don’t give up and keep trying every day. Try to even just imagine the picture of the pebble in the pond when you try contractions of your pelvic floor muscles. If you feel that you are making no progress within a few months after having your baby, I would suggest seeking assessment, advice and more specific pelvic floor training from Heba, our Women’s Health physiotherapist.
Heba works in our CBD branch and can be contacted on 9264 0077.