Right ladies, how's the new year exercise regime going? I only ask because sometimes with all the excitement of getting fit you begin to realise new problems are surfacing. When you increase your impact work or simply increase the time you are exercising it's common for ladies to report some unwanted stress incontinence (leakage).
So, pregnancy is all rather incredible, the way the body changes and adapts to be able to grow another person inside you is all rather amazing! However, even with the easiest pregnancy the pelvic area suffers a lot of strain. These 3 exercises will help keep the front, back and underneath of your pelvis in tip top condition.
1. The underneath bit of your pelvis is known as your pelvic floor and is basically the area between your tailbone (at the back of your pelvis) and your pubic bone (at the front of your pelvis). It’s essential for soooo many things so don’t put this one off ladies, you’ll thank me I promise. Start off sitting for this one.
Squeeze round your back passage as if you’re trying to hold in wind, now squeeze as if you are trying to stop a tampon falling out, then squeeze as if stopping yourself from having a wee. Always start the contraction in that order (ie. from the back to the front). Hold the contraction for 5 seconds, relax for 5, then repeat x10. As you get stronger, build up the length of time you can hold each contraction for, aiming to hold for 10 seconds each time (and likewise if 5 seconds is too hard then hold for less).
2. The back of your pelvis gets a bit stiff and tilted as your pregnancy progresses and it will love you forever if you give it a marvellous stretch. Stand with your back against the wall and knees slightly bent. Now put a finger on your sticky out hip bones at the front of your pelvis (well they used to stick out anyway!). Tuck your tailbone forwards through your legs and feel the small of your back flatten against the wall. As you do this you should feel the bones under your fingers rock upwards. Then relax and let your tailbone stick out behind you and the hip bones will move forwards and down. Keep repeating this rocking motion 10 times or until you feel your back loosening off. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oohevymcf7Q
3. Now, clearly once you move into your second and especially third trimester your abdominals have rather a challenging time! Doing a few ‘bump lifts’ every day can really help your abdominals cope and also take the strain off your back. Simply put your hands underneath your bump and lift it up towards your nose. Now engage your abdominals to keep your bump up whilst you take your hands away. Hold for the count of 3 then slowly lower the bump down. Once you get the feel of the bump lift you won’t need to use your hands at all and can simply lift the bump and lower solely using your abdominal muscles. Try doing 10 reps a couple of times a day.
Good luck ladies! And remember, if you find you are experiencing pelvic or back pain or struggling with stress incontinence then do book in to see your local Women’s Health Physiotherapist. The solution is often simpler than you think 😊
Resident Women's Health Physio
@ The Derbyshire Sporting Joint