For mom

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:

  1. Lie flat with your knees bent,

  2. Squeeze and hold those muscles for about 5-10 seconds

  3. Then release them for an equal amount of time

  4. 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.

  1. Lie flat with your knees bent

  2. Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles

  3. Slowly raise your pelvis and butt upwards

  4. Maintain this position for 5-10 seconds, and

  5. 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

  1. During these exercises, always maintain steady breathing

  2. Do not try pelvic floor exercises on a full bladder as it may cause weakening of your pelvic floor muscles
  3. Do not contract your abdominal or butt muscles
  4. After pregnancy, once you have recovered, resume pelvic floor exercises for 2-3 months

For baby

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. 

Ref: L20

Click the link for the complete listing of articles for Pregnancy Week 1 - Week 40.