What happens if I have to have a C section?
No matter if you have a C section or vaginally, your pelvic floor will still be affected by pregnancy. Your growing baby will cause your pelvic floor to stretch to accommodate them. The baby’s weight can make those muscles weaker. If you prepare your pelvic floor by exercising it during pregnancy, you can avoid some of the common postpartum pelvic floor symptoms.
No matter how prepared you are for labor and birth, it is important to focus on your pelvic floor health. Nothing is better than a safe birth and faster recovery after childbirth.
How can I improve my pelvic floor health?
There are many ways you can improve the health and function of your pelvic floor during pregnancy.
Kelly Morales, OBGYN, discusses ways you can protect your pelvic floor:
- During pregnancy, maintain a healthy body weight and healthy weight growth
- Avoid activities and exercises that put too much pressure on your abdomen, especially in the second and third trimesters.
- Allow yourself to take a break and rest after exertion or exercise.
- Engage in safe pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your muscles, such as pelvic tilts, bridges, and Kegel exercises
Kegels are Important!
Kegel exercises are a popular way to maintain a tight and healthy pelvis. These exercises are more effective in helping with childbirth and postpartum recovery.
Healthline gives simple instructions for Kegel beginners:
- Before you start the exercise, empty your bladder.
- You can find a private, quiet place to lie down or sit in.
- For three counts, tense your pelvic floor muscles and then relax them for three.
- Continue on until you have completed 10 repetitions.
- Keep practicing for the next few days until your muscles are tight enough to hold for 10 counts. You should aim to complete three sets of 10 repetitions each day.
What does my pelvic floor and the perineum have in common?
The pelvic floor muscles are connected to the perineum. The perineum can also stretch during childbirth to make space for the baby. The perineum may sometimes stretch out during childbirth. Your doctor might cut your perineum to prevent further trauma tears.
You can prepare your perineum to give birth, and help you recover from postpartum pain by decreasing the chance of tearing. Get a perineal massage You or your partner can start massaging your perineum starting at 34 weeks. This will help to improve your birth experience. Perineal massages can help you get to know this area and help you prepare for childbirth. They also help reduce the possibility of persistent perineal pain after childbirth.
How do I massage my perineum in the most effective way?
This experience is not something to be worried about. You should establish a weekly routine for massaging your perineum. You can either give yourself a massage on the perineum or have your partner help. It’s not strange! It doesn’t matter if you guys’ bond or laugh about it. But you need to know that your partner will be there to support and guide you along your journey. Let’s now get down to the details.
Mater Mothers’ Hospital gives step-by-step tips for a perineal massage:
- You or your partner must first wash their hands.
- You can even try the massage in your bed using pregnancy pillows or in the tub!
- Use personal lubricants or natural oil
- To reach a depth of 3 to 5 centimeters, place your thumbs inside the vagina. Gently press down towards the rectum, and the sides of your vagina, while simultaneously stretching the opening until you feel a slight burning, stinging or tingling sensation.
- You will feel less tingling and burning with time.
- Slowly and gently apply the lubricant, keeping the pressure constant and pushing the perineum forward as you move your thumbs in a U-shaped motion from one side to the other of the vagina for about two to five minutes.
- You can have the massage in either one direction or both.
- e. side to side or in opposite directions.
- Relax as much as you can during the massage. This includes your breathing.
Preparation during pregnancy can make childbirth easier!
Even though it may sound scary all the talk about crying, weak pelvic floors and perineal massaging can be frightening, it is vital that you are aware of all these tips so you can prepare for childbirth. Perineal massages and Kegels will reduce your chances of crying and help you recover faster after childbirth. Although there are many common postpartum pelvic floor symptoms, that does not necessarily mean they are all normal. This is the right time to take control of your pelvic floor and prepare for that pee!