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How to improve pelvic floor strength

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I"m looking for some suggestions about strengthening my pelvic floor muscles.

 

I'm about 6 weeks p/g with #2.  Prior to having DS1, I had fantastic bladder control, but now find myself leaking when doing jumping jacks, high impact exercise.  I've tried kegels, but they made no difference, and I've been reading a lot lately that squats, not kegels, strengthen the pelvic floor.

 

My midwife said my abdominals were still separated from my first p/g.  Although I've always been very fit and exercised, I have to admit I've always been pretty lazy when it comes to core work/abdominals etc :blush- and I assume that pelvic floor/core strength/posture etc are all inter-related. Coupled with the fact that I have flat feet, so there's generally more strength but also tension in my thighs/quads etc, which also throws my posture out.

 

The birth of DS1 was a straightforward vaginal birth.  My doula and hubs mentioned that each time I pushed, the baby's head emerged but would retreat up the birth canal when the pushing subsided. I'm not sure if this is normal or symptomatic of a weak pelvic floor. The OBGYN on call made some *lovely* :angry disparaging comments along the lines of "That was a strong contraction but you wasted it!  It's only going to get harder".  Later my chosen OBGYN said the baby's heartbeat was dropping, and I could try a few more pushes, otherwise she would have to use the vaccum extractor.  This was enough to motivate me and I was able to push DS1 out. I had some mild tearing which healed very quickly.

 

- I assume having a stronger pelvic floor will assist the birthing process?

 

- Also - are there alternatives to pushing when you're told to push? It all felt forced to me - sorry for the crude analogy - but a bit like being told to poop when you don't have the urge.

 

So...please share your knowledge, resources and ideas....thanks!

post #2 of 5

Congratulations on your pregnancy! It looks like your post might have been missed, so I wanted to bump it up for attention. :bump: Anyone have experiences or a recommendation to share?

post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redmom View Post
 

- I assume having a stronger pelvic floor will assist the birthing process?

 

- Also - are there alternatives to pushing when you're told to push? It all felt forced to me - sorry for the crude analogy - but a bit like being told to poop when you don't have the urge.

 

So...please share your knowledge, resources and ideas....thanks!

First, squats are, I believe, the best exercise for pelvic floor strength, but lunges and lower-body strengthening moves in general are super helpful.  I did a "100 squats a day" challenge during my pregnancy and I think it helped keep things limber and get me back to "normal" after the birth.  I had problems peeing while jump roping and running for a few months after birth until I could do enough strength work to reverse it. Once I was back to doing weighted squats and jump lunges, my bladder control returned to normal.  I'm 1 year PP.  (Make sure you have good squat form though... it's easy to hurt yourself doing it wrong)

 

In terms of pelvic floor strength assisting the birth process, I assume so.  My labor was super long and very painful because DD was posterior, but pushing was pretty quick.  In terms of alternatives to being told to push, your body can and will tell you when you need to push.  For me, the contractions were unbearable until I started pushing.  Pushing was the most amazing relief I have ever felt.  Oddly, I could only push comfortably flat on my back, which probably contributed to tearing, but if you can push in a squatting position, it helps everything.  Ina May Gaskin has a discussion of optimal pushing and not pushing on demand in one of her books and Dr. Sears has something similar in the Birth Book.  So, no, you do not need to push when someone tells you to.

 

Are you high risk for anything?  If not, you will probably find a midwife less intrusive when it comes to pushing (and L&D in general).  They tend to assume a woman's body knows what to do, while OBs often assume the opposite.  If you can, you might want to interview with some midwives and see if you can find someone more hands off for your next birth.  Good luck!

post #4 of 5

2 steps forward 1 step back is perfectly normal in pushing. It's how we avoid tearing. Do squats and limited Kegels. A strong pelvic floor ensures the baby's chin is tucked so the crown of the head comes first, not the brow. You can just breathe the baby down and not add your effort in pushing if baby is ok, probably the urge to add your effort will come part way down. Might take too long though, you don't want to be in second stage more than an hour maybe 2.

post #5 of 5

^^^  Oh yeah, and I forgot to add that it's totally normal for baby's head to pop back up between pushes.  All the Bradley videos we watched and in my own birth, the head would be visible during pushing and then pop back up between.  It's still moving down gradually, so it's crazy your doctor said that.

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