It is quite an interesting time right now – most of our lives have changed significantly in one way or another over the past several weeks. During this period, some of us are left with more time on our hands while others are left trying to manage full time work schedules AND full time parenting– my hat goes off to these individuals!

Let’s take this period of our lives to use any extra free time we have to better ourselves and establish new healthy habits!

This is Part 1 of our new series of blog posts related to fitness and pelvic health during and after pregnancy. 

PREGNANT!.... NOW WHAT?

So you’ve peed on the stick, you’ve confirmed with your medical practitioner, and now you are slowly starting to comprehend your new reality. The first trimester is both a difficult and exciting one. So many emotional and physical challenges– including nausea, fatigue, food aversions, and a whole host of other wonderful changes. There is also the excitement of a new adventure and SO MANY google searches to absorb all the information we feel we need to manage this journey. 

I like to think of this trimester as a great time to take stock of your current status and start to establish good habits. There will be so many bodily changes coming your way over the next several months… and to be honest, years. 

The pelvic floor is going to be under increased stress and undergo immense change over the next several months, so preparing the pelvic floor with coordination, strength, and endurance will reduce likelihood of leakage and have a positive influence on your laboring experience. Leakage during pregnancy is common, but it is not considered normal. Leakage during pregnancy increases chances of leakage later in life by up to 50%. 

Exercise in general also prepares you for labor/surgery, speeds up post-partum recovery, and prepares you for caring for the new little one!

Things to assess

  • Current coordination and strength of your pelvic floor

    • Can you isolate a contraction of your pelvic floor? Imagine that you are trying to pick up a blueberry with your vagina. Can you perform this muscle activation without increased activation of buttocks or abdominal tone?

    • Can you perform this contraction quickly and consecutively with full relaxation in between contractions?

  • Baseline awareness and coordination of abdominal/back musculature

    • Do you know what neutral posture looks like?

    • Can you activate your abdominal muscles during activity to prevent losing this neutral alignment?

  • Any aches/pains

    • Take note of any abnormalities or aches and pain – As our bodies change, several new areas will be under increased stress.

  • Cardiovascular endurance

    • Increasing endurance during pregnancy will help manage increased blood flow and help manage the marathon of delivery.

  • Strength Level

    • You will be carrying more load during AND AFTER pregnancy. Now is the time to prepare! Take stock of your current limitations.

If any of these areas are foreign to you, now is the time to seek out help! Get to know your body and gently start working towards positive and impactful change! Contact me to set up an in-person evaluation (or a telehealth evaluation!).  

Some precautions/contraindications:

  • Do not exercise if specifically directed not to by a medical professional
  • Avoid excessive heat during pregnancy such as hot yoga or working out outdoors during excessively hot weather
  • Take caution with jumping as it increases pressure/load requirements on the pelvic floor
  • Avoid maximal lifting (this is not a time to be setting personal records)
  • Avoid holding your breath
  • Later in pregnancy (after 1st trimester)- avoid prolonged lying on your back
  • STOP exercise if experiencing pain, vaginal bleeding, shortness of breath that limits talking, nausea, dizziness, excessive body heat/clamminess

Try this at home!

And FINALLY… so as to not leave you empty handed, here are a few ideas of pelvic health and general exercises to get you started on this journey. Click the video links below!

3 Part Breathing

Pelvic floor contractions (supine and seated)

Bird dog

Supine march with leg extension

Modified Side plank with leg raise

Wall angels