In my many years of teaching pre and post-natal yoga, I have come across many and varied issues related to pre and post birth. Unfortunately, a very common issue relates to our pelvic floor.
Your pelvic floor consists of interwoven muscles that link the base of your spine and the front of your pelvis – like a supportive hammock. If these muscles are weakened you can find yourself leaking urine when you cough, sneeze or even laugh.
Whilst it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, it’s incredibly common and something we all wish to avoid. Therefore, it’s vital that all pregnant women practise their pelvic floor exercises (Kegels).
Pregnancy and birth place undue pressure on your pelvic floor. Pregnancy increases the amount of the hormone progesterone in your body, which causes all your muscles to soften. Both pregnancy and birth stretch the pelvic muscles, which are responsible for tightening the bladder, vagina and bowel. Once these muscles have been weakened, they can no longer stop your bladder from leaking or –in a worst case scenario – keep your uterus in place, leading to uterine prolapse.
I always make the pelvic floor a focus in pregnancy yoga. My entire second class of my pregnancy online course, is dedicated to it. After the basics of postures, it’s the most important skill to teach. That way, you can utilise that knowledge whilst practising the rest of my yoga course. There are simple yoga poses that lend themselves to working with the pelvic floor. The key, I teach, is to work with and against your breath.