The Incredible Hulk is a wimp compared to a pregnant woman. When he hulks out, he just gets bigger, stronger, and greener. Puleeze! When you're pregnant, your stomach swells and your breasts inflate. Your feet get bigger and your hair gets thicker. You get a line down your belly and veins across your chest. You can't sleep at night, but you can smell as well as a bloodhound. Your body expands, leaks, and ultimately explodes. Mothers-to-be are the real superheroes. Is it any wonder this amazing bodily transformation leaves some lasting reminders?
Pregnancy's Toll on Your Pelvic Floor
One of the hard-to-see after effects of pregnancy and childbirth is a damaged and poorly functioning pelvic floor. As you might imagine, your pelvic floor is the area way down there where the baby's weight rested for nine months, an area that stretched during pregnancy and may have torn during delivery. The pelvic floor is sometimes called the pelvic sling or hammock because this system of muscles and ligaments runs from the front of your pelvis to the back, supporting your bladder, uterus, and intestines. These muscles (called levator muscles) also surround your urethra, vagina, and rectum like sturdy walls encasing a set of flexible pipes.
Now imagine what happens when those sturdy walls become weak or damaged. The pipes aren't supported, so they collapse and ultimately ... leak. This situation leaves approximately 40 percent of mothers with a form of urinary incontinence that's often aggravated by exercise, sneezing, or laughing. Sneezing we can do without, but exercise and laughing? Those are essential activities for a healthy, happy mommy, so pelvic floor rehabilitation is a must! If you're one of the millions of women who dribble or leak when you run, jump, or lift a heavy object, pay close attention.
Pelvic Floor Health and Core Strength
If you've managed to escape this little side effect of childbearing, don't congratulate yourself yet. When the core or middle of your body is weak, the rest of your body is, too. All your arm and leg movements initiate from your core, so if it's mushy and damaged, you can't use the rest of your body as effectively. That's why athletes work so hard on core strengthening exercises. They're not focusing on getting six-pack abs, they're trying to improve their performance. Professional players know that if the centers of their bodies are strong, they can throw harder and jump higher.
It may seem weird to exercise a part of your body that nobody can see, but it's important for your overall physical well being. We call these exercises The Building Blocks because they're the foundation of your exercise program. Perform two sets of 10 repetitions before or after each workout. You can do them in the living room or bedroom too.
- Red Light, Green Light (glute firing)
- Double Glute Fire
- Kegel with a Crunch
- Alternating Bridge with a Kegel
- Bridge, Kegel, Crunch (in sequence)
Please consult with your physician or health care provider before embarking on a new diet or exercise program. Nothing contained on this site should be considered as, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.