What Are Pelvic Floor Muscles And Why Do We Need Them
If you are a lady, especially one who has had a baby recently, then you would have heard a lot about pelvic floor muscles.
They are, of course, the layer of muscles that support the pelvic area of the body.
For most of your life, they would have gone about doing their job without you taking much notice.
Then, you had that baby…
And those pelvic floor muscles might not be doing their job in the same way they did after that life-changing event.
So, what are pelvic floor muscles, what do they do and why do we need them to be in good working order?
Let's answer those very questions now.
What Are Pelvic Floor Muscles?
Put simply, your pelvic floor muscles are a layer of muscles, ligaments and tissues at the base of your pelvis. Their main function is to support your pelvic organs - the bladder, bowel and uterus.
Your pelvic floor muscles span the area between your coccyx (tailbone) at the back and your pubic bone at the front. They form a kind of sling underneath the pelvic organs.
The muscles are meant to be firm and thick to support the organs that rest on them.
The muscles fit tightly around the three exit points of the pelvis - the urethra, vagina, and anus. While you cannot see your pelvic floor, you can exercise it with the right motions.
What Do They Do?
The muscles provide support for the organs that lie upon them. They also support the function of the sphincter valves that control the conscious release of the bladder and bowel.
Contracting or lifting the muscles helps to tighten the sphincter valves, stopping leakage from occurring. Whereas, relaxing the muscles allows you to be able to go to the bathroom.
For ladies, those pelvic muscles play a big part in supporting your baby when pregnant. They also help to support your spine in conjunction with the abdominal and back muscles.
When birth takes place, the muscles need to relax to allow the baby to pass through.
What Happens When They Weaken?
Your pelvic floor muscles are a bit like a trampoline. When something presses down on them, they stretch and bounce back up again.
However, this might not happen so readily after pregnancy when they bear the increased weight of a baby for an extended period of time. The muscles can start to weaken and stretch. This problem can be further compounded by a natural birth.
Having weakened pelvic muscles can make it harder for you to squeeze those sphincter valves tightly closed. That can mean you experience small leaks causing unsightly wees when you sneeze!
This is a common problem that impacts a third of women who experience pregnancy.
What Can You Do?
The good news is that you don't have to live with it forever. It can take around 6 months for your pelvic floor muscles to recover after birth, so it starts with being patient.
There are also specific exercises that you can do to strengthen these muscles.
If you are going to exercise, you need to be certain that you are completing exercises that are safe. Some traditional exercises designed to flatten your tummy and strengthen your abs can actually cause injury to a postpartum body.
That is why it pays to take advice from a trainer who specialises in fitness for Mums. Kirstyn Campbell at KC Fit is one of those very experts.
We love what she does here at Gobstopperz, so are partnering with her to get her valuable Sneeze Without Wees programme out to as many ladies as possible.
If you are sick of worrying every time you need to cough, sneeze or jump with the kids on the tramp, then worry no more. This programme is for you!
If you would like to know more about it, you can click here for further information.