Obstetricians and midwives always recommend pregnant women do Kegel exercises during pregnancy to strengthen their pelvic muscles. What they don’t typically mention is that those “pelvic muscles” are the pelvic floor and, obviously, preparing the body for pregnancy is going to help avoid pelvic floor damage. For more about preparing your body for the optimal pregnancy, read our Preparing for Pregnancy newsletter!
Many women report back that regular chiropractic adjustments during pregnancy lead to a more quality labor and delivery with minimal intervention needed and fewer incidences of dystocia. Since medical interventions and fetal malposition are the most common causes of pelvic floor disorders, it’s clear that regular chiropractic care may be a preventative measure.
Due to the importance of the pelvic floor during both pregnancy and delivery, it’s wise to prepare it for pregnancy. As with any muscle or groups of muscles, exercises and stretching will be beneficial.
As was previously mentioned, Kegel exercises are recommended by all birthing professionals. To do Kegels, pretend that you are trying to stop the flow of urine and not allow gas to pass. This is contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor. When doing Kegels, it’s important not to move the leg, buttocks or abdominal muscles. It is normal to feel a little tightening of the lower abdominal muscles, but you shouldn’t feel anything above the belly button if performing Kegels correctly. Each time you contract the muscles of the pelvic floor, hold for a slow count of five then relax for a slow count of 5. Most medical professionals will recommend you do a set of 10 of these three times a day.
The pelvic tilt is done on all fours and strengthens the abdominal muscles and eases back pain during pregnancy and labor. On your hands and knees with your arms shoulder-width apart and your knees hip width apart, keep your arms straight and, as you breathe in, tighten your abdominal muscles, tuck your buttocks under and round your back. Then relax back into a neutral position as you breathe out.
While squatting isn’t exactly elegant, it will strengthen the thighs and help open the pelvis in preparation for delivery. Be sure to use a chair for support and, as you contract your abdominal muscles and lift your chest, lower your tailbone toward the floor as though sitting on a chair. Be sure to find a healthy balance with the majority of your weight on your heels.