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Health Matters

Your Pelvic Floor

June 26th, 2013

After having children there are some obvious changes to the female body, and other subtle changes. If reconditioned properly most of the changes that happen within the abdominal cavity such as urinary and bowel incontinence, prolapse, weak core muscles and in some cases even low back pain will be a temporary post partum condition. These problems occur at the bottom of the abdominal cavity which is referred to as the pelvic floor.When pregnant, these muscles and tissues become stretched from the growing uterus, hormones and may be damaged due to the natural birthing process.

With in the first year of your new baby’s life your body will start returning to it’s pre-pregnancy condition. To help this process along you can start training or exercising your pelvic floor. In order to recondition your pelvic floor you need to know what it is. Your pelvic floor is a network of muscles that span from the pubic bone at the front of your body to the tailbone at the back. There are two layers of muscles here that help support mainly the bladder, bowel, and uterus. Pelvic floor muscles also surround all of the lower openings such as the vagina. Reconditioning it involves working the skeletal muscles located here by doing exercises such as kegels, (during and after pregnancy). Proper abdominal training plays a large role when you are trying to lose post-partum pounds. Before starting an exercise routine it is wise to check for any abdominal separation and the health of your pelvic floor.

If your doctor has cleared you for exercise, start your kegels right away. To perform a kegal, find those pelvic floor muscles and thing about the contraction that is done when trying to stop peeing and passing wind. This should be a tightening feeling. Next, think about pulling up…lifting everything inside that area higher. It’s fine to feel your lower tummy muscles tighten, but if your upper muscles are contracting, that means you are trying too hard. Your buttocks should not contract either. Hold this contraction
for about three to five seconds, but not longer than eight, and repeat about 10 times. Make sure you relax completely before starting the next contraction.

For the most benefit try kegels in many different different positions, such as lying down on the back, sitting, from the hands and knees and standing (even when you are in line at the grocery store). If you find that you accidently leak a little when you cough, sneeze, or exercise after having a baby start your exercise journey slowly. Your exercise routine should help retrain  theabdominals and pelvic floor muscles. At first you may want to avoid jumping, as this can strain the pelvic floor. If leaking persists more than seven months seek advice from your GP. Look in your community for a specialized post-partum fitness class, to gently retrain your pelvic floor after kids.

Citymotion has provided this handout that you can download and print as well!

Krytsal Kromm, CSEP-CPT, RMT, AFLCA, is a Fitness Specialist at City Motion. For more information, visit

Tags: health, Moms

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