Hey there, Mama! Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor; just a well-knowledged mama basing this information off of my own experiences as a mother, athlete, and prior research. Please consult your doctor before proceeding with any of the following information!
The early moments after Baby is born, as you begin your postpartum recovery phase, can feel long, exhausting, confusing, and at times, painful. While your body just completed the most miraculous action of the woman anatomy, slow recovery, (especially in the pelvic floor area), is tedious and needs special attention after pregnancy.
Moreover, a “fast recovery” is not particularly an attainable goal to have as a new mom. In most cases, this expectation can lead us into a spiraling downfall of attitude towards ourselves and an unrealistic view of what postpartum recovery should look like. Furthermore, in order to have a truly successful recovery after Baby, it is important to be aware of the fact that healing is a process that requires patience and attention.
With that said, there is no reason why a new, postpartum mommy can not work towards a speedier recovery, after either C Section or Vaginal Birth, if she is taking correct and manageable steps forward. One of the most essential steps towards postpartum recovery that can result in speeding up the process is pelvic floor strengthening. As a woman in general, your pelvic floor is affected daily, depending on the activities that you take part in, but is also one of the most essential muscles in your body. More so, these muscles are even more affected when pregnancy and birth are taken to account. This is why when paying specific attention to strengthening the pelvic floor muscles as a postpartum healing technique, can lead to a much more efficient and healthier recovery.
In this post, I am going to break down the functions of the pelvic floor, the most common causes of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, and give you one simple exercise that will help you speed up your postpartum recovery processes into a more efficient one.
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT YOUR PELVIC FLOOR?
What is your Pelvic Floor?
Your pelvic floor is a muscle near your pelvis that carries a few functions during its normal day-to-day activity. Your pelvic floor
- supports your organs
- controls your bladder and bowels
- helps stabilize your upper body
How can your pelvic floor be damaged?
Your pelvic floor can become week or damaged from many life events, in which lead to some form of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. Some causes of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction include but are not limited to
- childbirth at a young age
- forceps delivery
- birth trauma
- connective tissue disorders
- uncontrollable coughing
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction can even be caused by more normal events or factors such as
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS?
In order to give our pelvic floor the best chance in both preventing and healing from Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, we have to pay special attention to it. While practicing exercises that are beneficial to your core as a whole do strengthen your pelvic floor, it is essential to practice exercises that just focus on that particular muscle.
This one, simple exercise will help you focus directly on pelvic floor control and the use of contracting/relaxing that muscle in addition to breathing.
Okay, are you ready for it?
Connection breath is an exercise that the certifying program, Girls Gone Strong uses diligently as a pelvic floor exercise, and after learning about this, it has completely changed everything for me.
Connection Breath is a technique of breathing in which you release your pelvic floor muscles during the breath in and contract them on the breath out. Connection breath is useful because it teaches you how to not only contract and strengthen your pelvic floor, but also how to relax it, as different stages of pregnancy and postpartum recovery call for different skills.
How To Practice Connection Breath
Start by laying on your back, on the floor. As you get better at connection breath, you can begin to implement it into a sitting position, standing position, and finally, as you complete movements of excursion.
Place one hand on your diaphragm and one hand on your lower belly (bellow your belly button). Breath into your diaphragm and think about the air moving down and filling up your pelvic floor. You should see your hands and belly rise as your diaphragm and pelvic floor fill with air. During this breath in, your pelvic floor muscle should be relaxing. Next, breathe out the air, flattening your pelvic floor upwards, towards the center of your spine. During this breath out, think about connecting your core and pelvic floor. This is your contraction.
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