6 ways to care for your pelvic floor muscles and spine when you are pregnant.
From your experiences at your Fix Program classes, I hope you all have a new awareness of your pelvic floors, pelvis and spine. But with your changing body shapes and levels of that relaxin hormone rising as the weeks of pregnancy tick by, these areas of your body really are under strain. Here's my top 6 ways to incorporate your 'core' into your everyday, both now and for after baby arrives.
1. Think tall and long. By gently lengthening through your waists, you will be using your 'core' and supporting your spines well. Pelvic floor muscles work at that low level we require for everyday when you are tall. Try this sitting, standing and walking.
2. Make time to attend to your pelvic floor muscle exercises. Remember to pop our red dots about the house to remind you – behind the kitchen doors, on the dishwasher, on your computer monitor. Or associate drinking water with the time to lift our pelvic floor a few times.
3. Use your legs. When bending, lifting, or needing to generally get down low, remember your folding hips. Try to keep your trunk long and fold your trunk over the hips. This will keep your spine supported (see tip 1) and safely aligned.
4. Become familiar with 'the knack'. This is a strong lift of your pelvic floor whenever you feel a sneeze or cough coming on, or just prior to a bend or lift of the groceries or baby capsule. This supports the pelvic organs, strengthens your pelvic floor muscles and prevents any embarrassing leakage when the bladder is under pressure with baby in utero. (All very normal in pregnancy and early months post-natally.)
5. Keep your legs together (like a lady!). Pelvic girdle pain is very common in later stages of pregnancy. It can involve the joints of the pelvis in your buttock region (sacro-iliac joints), or the pubic joint at the front of the pelvis. Try to keep your legs together, avoiding separation at the pubic region when you get in and out of the car, or as you roll out of bed.
6. Keep up a high fibre diet. With your pelvic floor muscles already under immense pressure from baby, the last thing you want to do is to strain on the toilet. A diet high in vegies and fruit will stop this and any other associated rectal problems such as haemorrhoids and anal fissures, other common joys of pregnancy that no one tells you about!