April 24, 2021
By Gloria Lee & Jane Chevalier
What are Pelvic Floor muscles?
Pelvic Floor – it’s a buzz word you hear about during pregnancy…so what is it?
- Set of muscles that run from the pubic bone in the front to the tailbone in the back, and from one sitting bone to the other, like a hammock (side to side)
- It is a multilayered, dynamic structure that provides both active and passive support
- Supports your womb, sexual organs, anus and bladder
- You use your Pelvic Floor muscles during urination, sex, pregnancy and childbirth
How does the pelvic floor get impacted during pregnancy?
- Throughout pregnancy, the weight and size of baby stretches out the Pelvic Floor muscles, and the pregnancy hormones soften them; weakening them throughout pregnancy
- No matter the birth outcome (vaginal or cesarean), all mama’s Pelvic Floor muscles get impacted by pregnancy
- A weakened Pelvic Floor makes it difficult to control urine function during and post pregnancy
- Having a healthy Pelvic Floor makes it easier to bounce back from pregnancy
How does Physical Therapy improve Pelvic Floor health?
- Strengthens and/or opens Pelvic Floor muscles in preparation for birth
- Maintain Pelvic Floor health
- Relieves discomfort, fatigue, and dysfunction
- Prevent urinary symptoms during pregnancy and after
What to expect in Pelvic Floor Therapy:
- A Physical Therapist (PT) conducts a Pelvic Floor exam
- PT determines whether you need to contract or expand; not every Pelvic Floor is created equal (not every person’s Pelvic Floor needs Kegel exercises; your PT will determine this)
- A tailored plan is created based on the state of your Pelvic Floor
Ready to start physical therapy? Check out The List for our recommendations.
Kahyaoglu Sut, H., & Balkanli Kaplan, P. (2016). “Effect of Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercise on Pelvic Floor Muscle Activity and Voiding Functions During Pregnancy and The Postpartum Period. Neurology and Urodynamics, 35(3), 417-422.
Continence Foundation of Australia. “Pelvic Floor Muscles in Women”. Retrieved April 26, 2021, from https://www.continence.org.au/who-it-affects/women/female-pelvic-floor-muscles
Stoker, J., Halligan, S., & Bartram, C. I. (2001). “Pelvic Floor Imaging”. Radiology, 218(3), 621-641. https://doi.org/10.1148/radiology.218.3.r01mr26621