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Laboring Positions and Pelvic Floor Stretches for Childbirth
"Positions for Laboring Out of Bed" by joel telling is licensed under CC BY 2.0

All About the Importance of Pelvic Floor Stretches for Childbirth

**Talk to your physical therapist and healthcare team about specific guidelines for you**

Are you ready for the big day? Have you thought about how you will prep for your upcoming delivery? In this article, we’ll review four pelvic floor stretches for childbirth that may be appropriate, but recommend you consult with your childbirth healthcare professional to confirm if these are right for you.

Deep breathing/ PF lengthening

  • Purpose: To lengthen pelvic floor and intercostal muscles (muscles of the ribcage)
  • How to: Take a deep breath in, expanding the ribcage (side to side and front to back). Also, imagine the pelvis expanding (side to side and front to back) with the inhale. You should also notice a light belly rise as well. The exhale component should be passive... just let go.

position 1

Child’s pose or modified child’s pose

  • Purpose: To stretch the low and midback muscles and pelvic floor muscles
  • How to: Sit your hips back while reaching your arms out in front of you. Hold and take a deep breath. As your belly grows, you will need to spread your knees apart to create more space.
    • Modifications:
      • Pain or pinch sensation in hips: do not sit back as far;
      • Pain in the knees: place pillow/ rolled up mat between the back of your thighs and calves

Childbirth Stretches position 2

Childbirth Stretches position 3

Cat-cow pose

  • Purpose: Stretches muscles along the spine and pelvic floor
  • How to: Begin on your hands and knees. With your arms directly under your shoulders and knees directly under hips. Inhale and lengthen your pelvic floor muscles (imagine your sit bones spreading apart) let your tummy sag down to the floor while looking up. Exhale and draw your pelvic floor and abdomen up and in while slowly rounding your back up toward the ceiling and repeat.

Childbirth Stretches position 4

Childbirth Stretches position 5

Deep squat

  • Purpose: stretch calves, low back, inner thighs and pelvic floor
  • How to: Find a stable object to hold on to prior (ie. sturdy chair, table). Lower yourself into a deep squat. Make sure to breathe throughout the exercise to let yourself relax. Stop the exercise if it worsens your symptoms.
    • Tip: *** heels do not need to be on the ground.

Childbirth Stretches position 6

These are general stretches to help prepare your pelvic floor for childbirth.

If you are interested in an individual program, or you just want to make sure you are doing pelvic floor stretches for childbirth correctly, please contact us for an in office session or virtual consultation.

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Testimonial by M.M.

My husband and I were married for 5 years and unable to have intercourse, but I never knew why. After numerous awful experiences at doctor’s offices (where many doctors told me I “just needed to relax”), a surgery that didn’t fix the problem, and a year of owning dilators that didn’t get me anywhere, someone finally referred me to Heather for Physical Therapy. I finally had answers and information from someone who knew exactly what I was dealing with!

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Testimonial by Fritzette H.

I went to Heather after the birth of my third child. It was lucky, really, that I was referred to her, because my doctor had referred me to a surgeon for a possible hysterectomy or pelvic wall rebuild. Thankfully, I went to Heather before undergoing either surgery, she was able to fix the problem. She has studied extensively in women's health--even written a book about it--and was able to diagnose my problem, suggest a course of treatment (6 weeks), and then follow through with said treatment. By the end, as she said, I was as good as gold. Boy, was it worth it! Though uncomfortable to talk about, much less write about, it is worth getting the word out there. If you have painful intercourse, especially after birth or other trauma, the treatment may be as simple as Physical Therapy (with Heather, of course). I highly recommend her.

-- Fritzette H., 3/24/16 via Yelp!

Testimonial by Julie T.

Femina PT (née Fusion Wellness & Physical Therapy) has honestly changed my life. Before receiving treatment at Femina, I was going doctor to doctor to try and find the answer to my pelvic pain. It has taken me YEARS to find someone that can help fix this. It wasn't until my gynecologist recommended your clinic that I finally felt relief. My pelvic pain is almost gone, and granted I still have a lot more to work on with Laureen (my PT), my original problem is nearly cured. I am so grateful to her.

What is even better is she gave me practical exercises to do at home that were not tedious and provided instant (and lasting) relief. Although I mainly work with Laureen, my interaction with the owner (Heather) has been great. She is very generous, kind, and committed to her business.

It hurts to know there are women out there suffering who will never know or have the opportunity to work with women like Laureen and Heather because this issue is hardly talked about and this field is so rare. I hope more doctors and physical therapists see the value in this work and can relieve more woman of their pain.

-- Julie T., 12/4/16 via Yelp!

Testimonial by P.M.

I was hopeful but frankly skeptical when the doctor treating me for Interstitial Cystitis recommended that I go to Heather for physical therapy. Medication and diet helped control my IC symptoms, but I had never heard of physical therapy being used to treat IC. The education and treatment I received from Heather was a revelation. She explained that the pain I experienced with IC had helped create a cycle of muscle guarding which affected the entire pelvic area. I had no idea of the amount of tension being held there. No wonder my husband and I had not been able to have sexual intercourse for years!

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Testimonial by Amanda W.

Heather's unique physical therapy program literally changed my life! After years of struggling with vaginismus, a condition that made it impossible for me to have intercourse and very difficult to use tampons without pain, a gynecologist referred me to Heather. I was nervous for my first appointment, but Heather's professional and friendly demeanor put me at ease. She did a great job explaining each technique she was using to help my muscles relax. Heather uses a combination of internal and external stretches and exercises to relax the pelvic floor and build muscle strength. Her specially developed home program helped me quickly recover from an issue that seemed insurmountable before meeting Heather. She was optimistic about my progress and incredibly encouraging. Less than 6 months after my first session, I was able to have pain-free sex for the first time in my life! If you are suffering from vaginismus or any other pelvic floor issues, I highly recommend making an appointment with Heather and reading her book!

-- Amanda W., 2/15/16 via Yelp!

Testimonial by J.H.

My last appointment with Heather was over 6 years ago but I still think of her every day. I don’t take for granted that I can easily get out of bed, care for my two active and busy young boys, run, play tennis, clean my house, or sit at a desk for several hours at a time. None of these tasks were easy for me before meeting Heather. Eight years ago my car was struck from behind by a tractor trailer that was estimated to have been speeding. I spent 3 years working with different PTs and Drs trying to heal and move on with my life. When I became pregnant and the hormone relaxin that “relaxes” all the joints of the body and the additional weight gain erased all my progress and I was suddenly in a lot of pain again. My OB sent me to Heather for one last try.

Read more: Testimonial by J.H.

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