Looking after your pelvic floor is important for all women – especially mums – and it is surprisingly easy to do once you understand how to do it.
It is no surprise that the pelvic floor is often compromised after pregnancy, but the good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to improve its function as well as avoid incontinence and vaginal prolapse.
It is also vital that you optimise your pelvic floor recovery and strength before overloading it with other exercises. It can take months for these important muscles to redevelop their strength post-baby, so remember to take it easy.
4 AWESOME exercises to help you improve your pelvic floor
Healthy mummy Gem Bath has lost 1.8st following the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge, and she says she’s a HUGE fan of the exercises on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge App, many of which have helped her strengthen her pelvic floor as well as tone the lower half of her body.
“I do The Healthy Mummy 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge exercises every day, and I love how easy they are to do in the comfort of your own home at a time that suits you,”she says.
“I tend to focus on the lower half of my body, as I want to tone up my bum, tum and thighs. It’s also having a great improvement on my stomach and arms too.”
Gem says she has also noticed huge improvements in her stomach and arms too through the exercises.
“Since becoming a 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge member, I’m more motivated than ever in my life.”
Why is it so important to work on the pelvic floor?
Physiotherapist Heba Shaheed from The Pelvic Expert says, “The pelvic floor is made up of a group of muscles and connective tissue that provide support for your pelvic organs – the bladder, the uterus and the bowel.
“During pregnancy and after birth, women are encouraged to do regular pelvic floor exercises, because the growing baby and uterus, combined with hormonal changes, creates pressure down on the pelvic floor.
“To find your pelvic floor muscles, imagine you are sitting on the toilet peeing, then imagine stopping the flow of the wee. The muscles that squeeze to stop the flow are your pelvic floor muscles. These are the same muscles we squeeze to stop us from passing wind.“
Gem’s 4 favourite exercises for improving your pelvic floor:
1. Bridge pump exercises
These are great for toning the muscle on your pelvic floor. You lie on your back with your knees bent, hips width apart.
“All you have to do is inhale and then hold for 10 seconds. I recommend doing 10 reps of these three times a day.”
How bridge pumps help strengthen your pelvic floor
Heba says, “Bridge pumps are a low impact exercise, which strengthens the buttock muscles. Because the buttock muscles are connected to the pelvic floor muscles, any buttock strengthening exercise will help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
“It is important to squeeze and lift the pelvic floor muscles when lifting the bottom up into the bridge position as you exhale, for maximum engagement of the pelvic floor and buttock muscles.”
If you are wanting to tighten and tone your lower body then you can find a heap of exercises like this one on our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge App.
2. Wall squats
Any type of squat will get your heart racing, but Gem reckons these wall squats help work your pelvic floor too.
“Stand against a wall, then slowly move down as if you’re sitting in a chair. Hold for 10 seconds, then rise back up. That is one rep. Do 10 of these and you’ll feel the difference.”
How wall squats help strengthen your pelvic floor
“When done correctly, wall squats engage the gluteal (buttock) muscles which coordinate with the pelvic floor muscles,” says Heba.
“It is important to squeeze and lift the pelvic floor muscles while rising out from the squat as you exhale, for maximum engagement of the pelvic floor and buttock muscles.”
3. Jumping Jacks
Jumping Jacks are a great cardio workout. These jumps help tone your arms and legs as you move them out.
“This makes such a great difference if you engage your pelvic floor as you do your jumps. If you repeat for 30 to 60 seconds, it will really help with your pelvic floor.”
How Jumping Jacks help strengthen your pelvic floor
Heba recommends women do this exercise ONCE they’ve already started working on strengthening their pelvic floor.
“Once a woman’s pelvic floor is strong and coordinating correctly, she may progress onto jumping jacks. If a woman has prolapse, she should have a pessary (pelvic organ support device) inserted whilst doing high impact exercises.”
4. Use an exercise ball
Exercise balls are ideally suited to help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
“Place the ball in between your knees as you lie on the floor and lift your pelvis to the ceiling. Hold, then relax and repeat.”
How an exercise ball helps you strengthen your pelvic floor
“Doing low impact exercises such as sitting bouncing on the ball whilst activating the pelvic floor can help mums progress to higher impact exercises such as jumping, skipping and running,” says Heba.
“Using the exercise ball during squats, lunges and ball bridges provides good support for the spine, and encourages the use of the buttock muscles, which helps stimulate the pelvic floor muscles.
“Doing leg floats, leg extensions and side-to-side knee rolls whilst lying on the back with the feet on the ball is a great workout for the pelvic floor and core muscles.
“Using the exercise ball is a great modification for mums with back pain, whilst still giving their muscles a challenge.”
Are you ready to kick-start your weight loss?
Want to shift your baby weight but feel like you have NO TIME in your day to exercise and eat healthily? That’s where the Healthy Mummy’s 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge can help.
Our Challenge entails:
- 28 days of at home exercise routines (no gym needed) – with video instruction
- Customisable and breastfeeding friendly meal plans
- Time-efficient exercises for busy mums – under 30 mins
- Challenge combines Pilates exercises with interval and circuit training (HIIT)
- Suitable for basic to advanced fitness levels.
- Home to thousands of EASY-TO-MAKE recipes.
To find out more about joining the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge for £1 click here.