At pregnancy week twenty-three, as your pelvic muscles are stretched and weakened by the pregnancy, it is important to do pelvic floor exercises to prevent pelvic floor disorder, says KK Women's and Children's Hospital.
At pregnancy week 23, your pelvic ligaments are being stretched by hormonal changes as well as the increasing weight of your womb.
Pregnancy stretches your pelvic floor muscles
At the end of 9 months of pregnancy, your pelvic muscles would have been stretched and weakened by the growing mass in your belly. After childbirth, some women may even experience leakage of urine when they laugh, sneeze, cough or walk. It may seem like something in the distant future, but when such a problem strikes, it can be a little embarrassing.
Pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy can help prevent pelvic floor disorder after birth
Simple pelvic floor exercises several minutes a day during and after pregnancy can help reduce the possibility of pelvic floor disorder.
Where are your pelvic floor muscles?
There are many simple ways to go about this. However, you would first need to identify where your pelvic floor muscles are.
They are the muscles which prevent urine from leaking out on a full bladder
Imagine that scenario and try constricting those muscles on an empty bladder
You will feel a squeeze in your vagina leading up to the anus. Those are your pelvic floor muscles
Simple pelvic floor exercise: Squeeze, hold, release!
You can do these exercises in any position at any time. The easiest way to start off with these exercises would be to:
Lie flat with your knees bent,
Squeeze and hold those muscles for about 5-10 seconds
release them for an equal amount of time
Do 10 repetitions 3 times a day.
When you have mastered this technique, you can try doing it in a variety of positions, sitting up, standing, even while waiting for the MRT or bus. There is no excuse not to do a simple exercise that can help you prevent potential incontinence after pregnancy.
Advanced pelvic floor exercise: Pelvic lifts
As you get even better, you can vary the routine by doing pelvic lifts.
Lie flat with your knees bent
Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles
raise your pelvis and butt upwards
Maintain this position for 5-10 seconds, and
Gently go back to the starting position 1 while
slowly releasing your pelvic muscles.
This exercise will also help to tone your bottom.
3 Tips before doing pelvic floor exercises
During these exercises, always maintain steady breathing
Do not try pelvic floor exercises on a full bladder as it may cause weakening of your pelvic floor muscles
Do not contract your abdominal or butt muscles
After pregnancy, once you have recovered, resume pelvic floor exercises for 2-3 months
A note about premature delivery before week 24
Anytime from 37 weeks gestation, your baby will be fully matured (otherwise known as having reached full term).
Usually before 24 weeks, if premature delivery occurs, it is not compatible with life. However with modern day advanced neonatal care, babies born from next week onwards have a better chance at survival.
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