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Should I be doing pelvic floor exercises when pregnant?

Bella Heim

Bella Heim

Bella is a mummy of three, writer, and photographer. She's not afraid to admit that she relies on a little red wine to keep the chaos of motherhood at bay. When she's not dodging toys and dirty diapers, you'll find her documenting the wild and wonderful ride of parenthood, and adding a splash of inspiration, creativity, and a healthy dose of mum humour along the way.
Created on Oct 30, 2023 · 5 mins read
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Pregnancy is quite the adventure, isn’t it? One moment, you’re revelling in the excitement of baby kicks and bizarre food cravings (pickles and ice cream, anyone?), and the next you’re wondering if your bladder has somehow shrunk to the size of a pea.

You know you’re growing a life inside you, but some days it feels more like you’re nurturing a tiny acrobat practising their gymnastics routine right on your bladder (awww but, also, ouch!).

And speaking of bladders, have you found yourself contemplating the state of your pelvic floor lately? I mean, who even knew it was a thing before pregnancy, right? Now it’s right up there on your list of daily concerns, alongside whether it’s normal to cry over that cute onesie you saw online or how many bathroom trips are too many.

So, when should you actually start doing pelvic floor exercises in pregnancy? Is it too early, too late, or is Goldilocks whispering, “just right”?

Let’s unclench those potentially already Kegeling muscles for a second and untangle the mysteries of the all-important pelvic floor together.


Pelvic floor exercises: Your new best friend!

Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, are really important for your body during pregnancy. They work to strengthen those critical pelvic muscles that bear the brunt of the increasing weight of your growing baby. These exercises can help you maintain bladder control (yes, no more unexpected sneeze-leaks!), ease your labour process, and speed up postpartum recovery.

A typical pelvic floor exercise regimen could involve contracting your pelvic muscles (as if you’re trying to stop a stream of urine), holding for a few seconds, then relaxing. Repeat this process multiple times throughout the day. You can do these exercises anywhere, anytime – while brushing your teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil, or even during those commercial breaks.

Not all about the floor: Bladder control and pelvic muscle strengthening

Kegel exercises are sometimes also referred to as bladder control exercises, they are essential for strengthening your pelvic muscles. The stronger these muscles are, the better they can support your uterus, bladder, and bowels, which can potentially ease your childbirth process and accelerating recovery afterwards.

Early bird gets the worm: Starting from early pregnancy onwards

So, when should you actually start these pelvic floor exercises? The answer is – the earlier, the better! You can start these exercises from early pregnancy onwards, as soon as you discover the exciting news of your upcoming bundle of joy

It’s also worth mentioning other important exercises such as stomach muscle and abdominal muscle exercises. These can improve your posture, decrease backaches, and increase your overall comfort during pregnancy. Pelvic tilt exercises and pelvic alignment exercises can also provide tremendous benefits.

Always remember, the idea is to stay active and keep those muscles working in harmony.

Every month is an exercise month

In terms of the specific month to start exercise during pregnancy, it’s generally recommended to start as early as you feel comfortable. The first trimester can often bring morning sickness and fatigue, so listen to your body and start when you’re ready. Every woman and every pregnancy is unique, so trust your instincts and consult your healthcare provider.

Pregnancy exercises and beyond

While we’re on the topic of pregnancy exercises, let’s not forget about other exercises that can be beneficial. Walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga are all excellent ways to stay active during pregnancy, promoting overall health and well-being.

Postpartum exercises and recovery

Remember, the benefits of pelvic floor exercises extend well into the postpartum period. They can speed up recovery, strengthen your pelvic muscles, and help regain bladder control. After giving birth, when you feel ready and with your healthcare provider’s approval, you can gradually reintroduce these exercises.

Pelvic eloor exercises: A daily ritual

Consistency is key when it comes to pelvic floor exercises. Making these exercises part of your daily routine will yield the best results. It’s like brushing your teeth – the more regularly you do it, the better it is for your overall health. And in this case, the health of your pelvic floor!

Final lap: The third trimester

By the time you reach your third trimester, you’ll likely be a pro at your pelvic floor routine. Keep going! It’s more crucial now than ever. The additional weight and pressure from your almost-fully grown baby make a strong pelvic floor even more essential.

Labour and delivery: The grand finale

During labour and delivery, the strength of your pelvic floor is going to play a significant role. A well-toned pelvic floor can assist in the birthing process and may help reduce the risk of complications.

The post-partum journey

After delivery, your body will need time to recover and heal, and yes, you guessed it right – your faithful pelvic floor exercises come to the rescue once again! They help to heal and strengthen your pelvic area after childbirth, supporting faster recovery.

With all this talk about pelvic floor exercises, it’s clear to see how important these unseen but mighty muscles are. Throughout your pregnancy and beyond, they’re there, providing support and function that aids both you and your baby.

The “Should I?” question

If you’ve been wondering, “Should I be doing pelvic floor exercises when pregnant?”, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”. No, it will not hurt your baby in any way,  regular pelvic floor exercises are beneficial, safe, and recommended for most pregnant women.

Remember, though, every body is unique and different. What works wonders for one might not be the same for another. If you experience any discomfort or have any concerns, it’s best to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

When it comes to starting pelvic floor exercises in pregnancy, it’s a case of “the sooner, the better”. Not only will these exercises help with bladder control and prepare you for labour, but they’ll also aid in your postpartum recovery.

So whether you’re sitting, standing, or lying down, go ahead and give those pelvic muscles a good squeeze!

Related Articles

Returning to exercise after baby: creating a strong postpartum body
Basic pelvic floor exercises we should all be doing
How your changing body impacts exercise during pregnancy

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