Pelvic floor muscles (PFM) are often talked about but a survey recently conducted on 633 Australian women revealed that 20% of them have never heard of pelvic floor muscles or what they do!
PFM supports the organs contained within your lower abdominal, specifically your bowel, bladder as well as the uterus in women. It works by controlling the bladder as well as pushing babies out during labour, which is why 1 in 4 women tend to experience bladder problems after childbirth.
The levator ani is an integral part of the PFM and is particularly involved in labour, as it is the muscle responsible for stretching as a baby’s head passes through during the second stage of labour.
Why do PFM exercises?
Because the muscle can stretch up to 3 times its normal length during labour, it is easily damaged during vaginal childbirth which is a common cause for leaky bladders post birth. It also can in some cases, give you pelvic pain.
PFM exercises have been shown to help with incontinence, but research has shown that when paired with squats, it is super effective.
How do you get them working?
They can be located by stopping your urine stream in the bathroom. Practice engaging these muscles. Take care not to tuck your tailbone in too much as it prevents your PFM from switching on properly.
Once you figure out how to activate the pelvic floor muscles, get them to switch on and incorporate them into a squat. Linking a squat whilst keeping the PFM active allows them to move together which is what retrains them to work together.
- Get into a squat position
- Switch on your pelvic floor muscles
- Inhale and slowly lower into the squat
- Hold for 3 seconds
- Exhale and slowly rise
- Repeat 10 times daily