In my last post, I discussed briefly about pelvic floor dysfunction and some of the problems that go along with it. After seeking out some help from my doctor, I received a few months of pelvic floor rehabilitation. Here I mention the two best exercises that I learned about there that have been quite helpful in getting me back towards my pre-pregnancy me!
Yup, when the therapist first mentioned these I think I literally groaned out loud. “Are these really going to be worth my time?” The answer is YES. I won’t spend much time on these since there are literally a million and one articles out there – here’s one Kegel exercise description from Mayo Clinic – here’s another one on Kegel’s for guys. Bottom line – you are going to have trouble doing the other exercises if you can’t do these. Start small by doing frequent Kegel exercises (one or two times daily – try to increase to three times / day). After I did these more frequently, I began to notice some improvements in the length of time I could do it and also my strength. Stick with it and these will make a difference.
Start off by laying on your back on the floor, knees are bent with feet flat on the floor. Now, put your hands on your belly and try to pull in your abdominal muscles. Use your hands to feel where the muscles are and feel them contracting. Repeat a few times to get the hang of it – remember you should be able to breathe out while your holding your abs in. Once your ready, pull the abs in and hold your bottom tight and keep the muscles contracted for 5 seconds. After 5, slowly relax. Rest 5 seconds, then repeat. Keep doing this for a few cycles.
Slow leg lift
Lie flat on your back with legs straight out. Try the “hands on the belly” trick again to make sure you can feel your abdominal muscles contracting. Here, pull in your abs, hold bottom tight and slowly lift up the right leg. Then, slowly bring it back down – remember to keep your abs tight. Repeat with the other leg. I like to do about 3 sets of 10 on each leg.
Keep at it – I’ll probably revisit this and add a few more exercises to the list. Most of these address core strengthening. If you think about this like any other muscular injury, pelvic floor dysfunction needs to be addressed promptly and patiently. Stick with it and make sure you talk to your doctor. You can find a more complete abdominals post-pregnancy workout at Women’s fitness if you’re interested. Happy flexing!