Having a baby is a wonderful thing, but pregnancy often results in some undesirable changes in a woman’s body. The good news is that most of these changes – such as weight change, stretch marks, a wider vagina, and erratic hormone levels – are temporary problems which can either be treated or eventually go away naturally.
One potential aftereffect of pregnancy that can prove troublesome, however, is weakened pelvic floor muscles. These muscles run horizontally between a woman’s ischium (the bones in the buttocks) and vertically between the pubic bone and tailbone, and they support the bladder, bowel, and uterus. When pelvic floor muscles lose their strength, it can lead to incontinence and/or painful intercourse.
Fortunately, an OB/GYN specialty women’s health doctor can recommend a variety of effective exercises and stretches designed to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and alleviate some postpartum problems. Let’s talk about some of the best exercises to strengthen the muscles in your pelvic floor after having a baby, and where you can go in Syracuse for comprehensive women’s healthcare.
Exercises that Can Help Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
Pelvic floor exercises that your OB/GYN might recommend include the following:
- Seated breathing – This involves sitting up, with good posture, on a comfortable chair and breathing deeply into your side ribs. This encourages your diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles to stretch. While inhaling, visualize how your diaphragm expands to your sides as you draw your breath. Then, as you exhale completely, feel your ribs returning to center and your pelvic floor slightly lifting. Perform this breathing exercise about 10 times.
- Kegels – Lie down on your back, and bend your legs outward with the soles of your feet together. Be sure to place support – such as pillows or rolled-up hand towels – under your outer thighs. Visualize your pelvic floor muscles and take a deep breath. As you exhale, draw the muscles between your sit bones together, lift up, and then release. Repeat at least five times.
- Runner’s lunges – This stretching exercise is designed to lengthen the muscles in the front of the leg up into the muscles of the low belly in the pelvic area. From a standing position, move one foot forward, stacking your knee over your ankle. Let your back knee rest on the floor. Using both hands, frame your front foot, and allow your hips to shift forward. Hold this position for up to 15 deep breaths.
- Side lunges – This stretch helps to lengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Stand with your feet about a full leg length apart. With both heels on the floor, bend sideways into one knee, bringing your hands to the floor. While maintaining that position, rotate your straight leg from the hip so the toes point toward the ceiling. Hold this position for eight breaths, then switch sides and repeat the movement.
Most women report noticeable improvement in their pelvic floor muscles after six weeks of performing these exercises. Your women’s health doctor can advise you on the specific exercises that would be right for you.
OB/GYN Women’s Health Doctor in Syracuse, New York
At University OB/GYN Associates, our obstetrician/gynecologists and women’s health specialists are committed to providing you with compassionate care and the most advanced treatments and testing at every stage of your life.
If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, call us today at (315) 464-5162. We look forward to being your healthcare partner!