By Deena Blumenfeld, ERYT, RPYT, LCCE
Recently, in one of my prenatal yoga classes, when I mentioned the words "pelvic floor," one of the women said she'd never heard of it nor knew where it was. This wasn’t the first time someone had mentioned a lack of knowledge about her body.
Luckily, I have a pelvis model and an anatomy poster of such things (perks of being a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator). So, I paused my prenatal yoga class to do a brief anatomy lesson.
Here's the thing... the pelvic floor is an integral part of pregnancy and childbirth. To let that beautiful baby out, the pelvic floor needs to be soft and loose - NOT tight. Many of the common pelvic floor exercises that women are told to do during pregnancy involve “tightening” or “firming” (such as Kegels or squats). However, unless a woman has incontinence or other pelvic floor issue caused by muscles that are too loose, Kegels and similar exercises should not be done routinely during pregnancy.
In order to push more effectively in labor, women should learn the sensations in the pelvic floor, as well as continue to practice feeling those sensations up until labor to help build muscle memory.
Through a simple anatomy lesson about breath and the pelvic floor, women can have an easier time pushing during childbirth. The following video is intended for pregnant mothers as well as those who work with pregnant mothers, such as childbirth educators and doulas. It provides instruction for a simple exercise to help identify the sensations of the pelvic floor. The video is, of course, just one small component of learning about pushing and birth. Awareness of the pelvic floor is a first step. I encourage you to take a childbirth class to become fully informed on labor, pushing, birth and postpartum.
Please feel free to share this video so that all pregnant mothers can benefit.
Deena Blumenfeld ERYT, RPYT, LCCE is a prenatal yoga instructor, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Lamaze Trainer and the owner and principal educator at Shining Light Prenatal Education in Pittsburgh, Pa. She is mom to two kiddos and loves guiding moms to a confident birth.