Pelvic Floor & Core Health
Your Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor is a collection of muscles, nerves, tendons, blood vessels, ligaments and connective tissue that are interwoven within the pelvis and together make up the pelvic floor.
The muscles of the pelvic floor connect to the pubic bone in front, to the tailbone in the back and to the sitz bones. These muscles provide support and stability to our spine and pelvis, help keep the pelvic organs in place, play a key role in sexual health and help us maintain our continence.
They need endurance to work together for long periods of time such as maintaining our continence throughout the day and they need to be able to contract quickly and strongly at various times during that day such as when we laugh, cough, sneeze, pick up our baby etc.
Pregnancy can strain this support structure from the additional weight of the growing uterus and baby. Alignment changes in pregnancy can also affect the function of this group of muscles. By connecting with your core and learning how to carry your body and move in ways that support the changes you can minimize the impact of pregnancy on your pelvic floor.
By learning optimal labour and birth positions in our Prepare To Push consultations and how to move and exercise through your pregnancy to prepare for those positions you can better support your pelvic floor through birth. We will also provide you with key restorative exercises for the early weeks postpartum that will best support your body as you settle into motherhood.
The abdominal muscles and their surrounding connective tissue will undergo significant changes through pregnancy and birth. By learning optimal posture and alignment during pregnancy you can help minimize the effects of pregnancy and birth on your abdomen.
The connective tissue that aligns the rectus abdominus muscles (think 6-pack) can become stretched and weak during pregnancy and birth. The first 8 weeks postpartum are most critical in terms of healing this connective tissue. When the connective tissue fails to support and align the abdominals there will often be a separation called Diastasis Recti.
The preventive and restorative exercise you learn in the Prepare To Push consultations and workshops will ensure you are set up for healing success once your baby is born.
Caesarean births can impact the connective tissue and abdominals significantly. Proper guidelines on healing are critical to help the connective tissue and muscles recover while minimizing scar tissue adhesions. Caesaren births do not make women immune to pelvic floor dysfunction so restorative core exercise that incorporates the pelvic floor remains a key element of recovery.
The recovery portion of our Prepare To Push consultation will cover healing guidelines for c-section births. Booking a session with a Pelvic Floor Physio is recommended for all women who have a c-section birth.
The Core 4
The true core is more than the abs and low back. It is in fact made up of a team called the core 4, that, when functioning optimally, support the spine and pelvis – a very important job!
The Core 4 are:
- Pelvic Floor
- Transversus Abdominus
This team is designed to work synergistically in anticipation of our every move. That’s right, they anticipate and prepare us for the task at hand before we even move! In a dysfunctional core, the ability to anticipate and prepare is hindered in some way and needs to be retrained using restorative exercises that focus on identifying and co-activating the core 4.
That all starts with The Core Breath - see video below
Pregnancy and birth can often be contributing factors to core dysfunction . Postural changes in pregnancy, developing new strategies for breathing, stretching of connective tissue, over or underuse of certain muscles, birth itself and a return to activity too soon postpartum can all lead to core challenges such as ‘mummy tummy’, pelvic floor weakness, pelvic pain, low back pain and a general feeling that things just ‘aren’t quite the same’.
By working with us early in your pregnancy we can help you learn how to support your body through pregnancy, prepare it for birth and how to set yourself up for optimal healing postpartum so you can go back to the activities you love.