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quarta-feira, 3 de abril de 2013

Yoga Exercises for Pelvic Floor for Pregnant and Post Natal Women

One of the biggest concerns for pre and post natal women is the pelvic floor - how they can help prepare for labour and how they strengthen after the birth. Yoga is a great way to prepare for all aspects of child birth and is relaxing and effective way to develop the pelvic floor.

Exercise for your pelvic floor is so important and should be included as part of your everyday yoga routine. Regular practice of pelvic floor exercises when pregnant will keep them toned and help ensure they survive pregnancy without suffering any damage.

To practise your pelvic floor exercises, squat down on your toes or, if you find this difficult, use a supported squatting position with yoga blocks, or a cushion under your buttocks. Your pelvic floor muscles are completely relaxed in this position so you can be aware of how well you can tighten them.

Close your eyes and focus on your pelvic floor.

Breathe in and draw your pelvic floor muscles upwards towards your uterus. You should not be moving the muscles in your buttocks or your abdominals. Breathe out and release. Repeat three of four times.

Make it harder by tightening the pelvic floor muscles as your breathe in, holding it tight whilst you exhale. Inhale again and then release as you breathe out.

Now try tightening and letting go in quick succession whilst breathing normally.

And finally do your pelvic floor exercises in stages:

Breathe in, lift the muscles just a little way and hold. Then contract a little more to bring them up higher. Pause a moment before lifting your muscles just a little higher again. Pause once more before lifting the muscles as high as you can go.

Now reverse the movement, breathing out and releasing just a little way before pausing. A little further and pause - and again and pause - before letting your muscles relax with the final exhalation.

Yoga Expert tip: If your baby is in the breech position avoid squatting after 34 weeks as it might encourage the baby to engage. Instead kneel with your legs wide, drop your elbows to the floor and rest your head on your arms (the knee-chest position) and practise your pregnancy pelvic floor exercises in this inverted pose instead.

Yoga after birth

Pelvic floor exercises after birth

If you've been practising a squatting position during your pregnancy the chances are you might well have given birth in a more upright position - good on you as this puts less stress on the pelvic floor during birth.

But you'll still need to get those pelvic floor muscles into action again and there's no reason why you shouldn't start straight away. Your body makes some very rapid changes immediately after birth so help this along by starting your pelvic floor exercises within the first days after your baby is born.

Don't worry if you don't feel as if much is happening initially - sensation will return as muscle tone is restored. And don't worry if you have had stitches or an episiotomy - whilst you will feel sore the pelvic floor exercises are completely safe and the improved circulation to this area will only serve to speed up the healing process.

Follow exactly the same routines after birth as you were practising before your baby was born - if you don't feel comfortable in a squatting position immediately after the birth your pelvic floor exercises can be done in whatever position feels best for you, whether it's seated, standing or lying down.

How to do pelvic floor exercises:

Breathe in and draw your pelvic floor muscles upwards towards your uterus. You should not be moving the muscles in your buttocks or your abdominals. Breathe out and release. Repeat three of four times.

Make it harder by tightening the pelvic floor muscles as your breathe in, holding it tight whilst you exhale. Inhale again and then release as you breathe out.

Now try tightening and letting go in quick succession whilst breathing normally.

And finally do your pelvic floor exercises in stages:

Breathe in, lift the muscles just a little way and hold. Then contract a little more to bring them up higher. Pause a moment before lifting your muscles just a little higher again. Pause once more before lifting the muscles as high as you can go.

Now reverse the movement, breathing out and releasing just a little way before pausing. A little further and pause - and again and pause - before letting your muscles relax with the final exhalation.


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Alexandra McCabe is a founder of https://www.fittamamma.com, the healthy pregnancy experts. FittaMamma is a free resource to help women enjoy an active pregnancy with workout videos, recipes and step by step yoga guides. Read here for tips to help the pelvic floor with pregnancy and postnatal yoga and other benefits of yoga in pregnancy http://www.fittamamma.com/section.php/43/1/yoga_when_pregnant_


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