Pelvic Floor - What Exactly Is It?
During your pregnancy your may hear and read quite a lot about the pelvic
floor, how important it is to us, and the effects which pregnancy and birth can have on
The pelvic floor is basically a broad sling of muscles,
ligaments and tissues which stretches from the pubic bone to the base of the spine. The function of this
muscle group is to give the necessary support to the bladder, uterus and bowel. It is these muscles which
allow you to control the emptying of your bladder and bowel.
Your Pelvic Floor During Pregnancy
During pregnancy the pelvic floor is placed under considerable amount of
strain owing to the increased weight it has to support. This is obviously particularly the case during the
third trimester. Although the muscles are resilient and are capable of bouncing back, the prolonged strain of
pregnancy may make them unable to do so.
If your pelvic floor becomes weakened then it is highly likely that
you will begin to experience problems with bladder control. This is because you will have a decreased ability
to tighten and control the necessary muscles. This can lead to leaking of urine when you cough or laugh or
sneeze, or place any significant strain on the muscles. You may also experience this problem during exercise.
This condition is commonly known as stress incontinence, and is extremely common amongst new
How Can I Prevent This? - Do Pelvic Floor Exercises
If you begin following a program of pelvic floor exercises, otherwise known as
Kegel Exercises, during your pregnancy you can strengthen the muscles of your pelvic
floor and avoid a number of problems. It is a good idea to start
pelvic floor exercises before becoming pregnant, but in reality very few people actually do this.
It can help to provide extra support for the additional weight of pregnancy and
prevent the leakage of urine during this time. It is also thought that having a stronger pelvic floor
may help to shorten the second stage of labor and encourage any damage the perineum to heal more rapidly after