The pelvic floor needs to be strong and able to support the added weight of the uterus during pregnancy, but it also needs to be able to relax and yield to let baby through!
Here are 3 tools that can help get your pelvic floor in good shape for delivery:
🌟Breath work: Maybe you’ve been practicing a piston breath or connection breath during your pregnancy. You’ve been relaxing and releasing your pelvic floor on your inhale and then contracting and lifting it on exhale. To shift the focus on relaxing your pelvic floor, work on maintaining the relaxation and release from the inhale, during the exhale.
🌟Visualization: Two common visualizations associated with relaxing the pelvic floor include picturing your pelvic floor as a flower blooming and opening on the inhale (and keeping the flower open on the exhale) or as ripples traveling outward from a pebble dropped in water. You can combine pelvic floor relaxation exercises and visualizations in a breathing exercise known as the “Flower Bloom Breath” (brainchild of @holistichealthphysio) and very easy to find with a quick google). This is also an excellent breath to practice during the pushing stage of labor and is similar to the birth breathing taught by childbirth education programs including Hypnobirthing.
🌟Mobilization: Try out the breath work and visualizations in positions that encourage relaxation of the pelvic floor and positions that you might want to use during the second stage (pushing) of labor. A couple of positions that encourage relaxation and that are accessible throughout all trimesters of pregnancy are a supported deep squat (pictured above) and a seated or semi-reclined cobbler pose (pictured below).
Begin making pelvic floor relaxation a part of your routine no later than 35 weeks into your pregnancy. If you’ve been practicing a connection breath or piston breath, this is the time to start adding in a relaxation breath.
Learn how to dial in your breathing strategy to harness control of your pelvic floor and feel stronger in your workouts. Download a copy of The No B.S. Guide to Breathing for a STRONG Pregnancy and Postpartum.
My mission is to make sure that having a baby is not a reason why you can’t do all the things.
Contact me if you have questions about exercise or pelvic health pertaining to pregnancy or postpartum. I work with people locally (Seattle's Eastside: Redmond, Bellevue, Kirkland and surrounding areas) and online to develop personalized pregnancy and postpartum personal training plans. I also offer labor support (doula services) within the greater Seattle-Metro Area.