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pelvic floor health during pregnancy
Health Digest author Catherine Caruso reached out to me about why pelvic floor health is so important during pregnancy, and of course this being one of our major areas of expertise I was more than glad to answer her questions. Here is a brief synopsis of the article, along with a link to the full article below.

Heather Jeffcoat, DPT

What's So Important About Pelvic Floor Health During Pregnancy?

If you've never been pregnant but think it may be in the cards for you, here's a mental trick you can try - just imagine strapping a bowling ball to your abdomen for a day and going about your normal routine. Your pelvic floor muscles would let you know soon enough what an extra strain you've put on them, haha! But seriously, in the real world pregnancy doesn't just overtake your life in one day (thank goodness!), and your body has time to adjust to this new task it's been given. That said, there are a lot of issues to be aware of and tactics you can take to make the whole experience go as smoothly as possible, and that's what we are here for.

Catherine's article begins:

Believe it or not, your pelvic floor muscles can actually play an important and essential role during pregnancy. Located at the base of the pelvis, the pelvic floor consists of a group of muscles that help support your pelvic organs, including your bladder, bowel, and uterus (via Better Health Channel). While many people may not even be aware of their pelvic floor muscles prior to becoming pregnant, they can certainly have a significant impact on your health throughout your life, especially during pregnancy and childbirth.

In an exclusive interview with Health Digest, Dr. Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, owner of Femina Physical Therapy in Los Angeles and PT with plusOne, discusses the importance of maintaining good pelvic floor health during pregnancy. According to Dr. Jeffcoat, pelvic floor muscles "serve important functions through all stages of life, but when women start to experience urinary urgency and frequency, bladder leakage or sexual dysfunction, they become intimately aware that this is a region that is deserving of more attention."

As I mention in the article, your pelvic floor muscles are responsible for helping your body perform some of its most basic and essential functions, and during pregnancy they really need to be in peak shape. One great way to improve your pelvic floor health during pregnancy is through a yoga program specifically tailored to pregnancy.

Related: More articles about yoga and pregnancy at Femina PT

And even if everything seems to be going great, it's always a good idea to get assessed by a pelvic health expert to make sure your pelvic floor is ready for the next steps. The article continues:

According to Dr. Jeffcoat, one of the most common signs of pelvic floor dysfunction is bladder leakage, along with urinary urgency and painful sex. In order to make sure this isn't happening, Dr. Jeffcoat recommends going to see a pelvic health physical therapist after 32 weeks of gestation, even if you're not experiencing any symptoms. "I'll often find my pregnant patients are developing overactivity in their pelvic floor muscles," she explains. "With this finding, we start doing pelvic floor muscle relaxation techniques, including specific intravaginal release techniques, mobility exercises for the pelvic floor, hips, and lumbar area, as well as coordinating their breathwork with bearing down to prepare for a vaginal delivery." 

From there the article takes a brief look at what can be done to relax the pelvic floor, and here's one exciting clue... orgasms can help!

When the pelvic floor muscles are in a tonic state of overactivity, it's not as easy to relax them. As a result, breathing techniques, exercises, and even orgasms can help relax your pelvic floor and make your feel more comfortable during pregnancy and childbirth.

There's much more to be learned about pelvic floor health during pregnancy in the full article at the Health Digest website. And if you think you're ready for some pelvic floor therapy, click here to set up an appointment with one of our trained specialists.

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** This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. **

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