Pregnancy & the pelvic floor: all you want to know
‘The pelvic what?’ - that is what pilates teacher MAXIME often hears when teaching newly pregnant women about the pelvic floor. It is an area of the body that doesn’t get lots of attention in regular fitness classes, even though it’s a very important area to us women. Especially during pregnancy. Maxime explains why, and what you can do to improve the state of your pelvic floor.
A hammock for your baby
“The pelvis is the area of the body below the abdomen that is located between the hip bones and it's the 'home' of organs like your bladder, uterus and rectum. The pelvis contains muscles - the pelvic floor muscles - which you can see as the foundation of that 'home' - it is the bottom of your torso. During pregnancy, the pelvic floor is also the area on which your baby is ‘resting’ - you might as well visualize it as a hammock. So you can imagine: it’s an important area to focus on during pregnancy. When we talk about muscles in relation to exercise, we tend to think we need to work muscles, to make them bigger and stronger. Maybe you’ve heard of the famous Kegel-exercises, in which you contract your pelvic floor on several levels? Before you decide to introduce these 'Kegels' in your life, there's something that's important to know.”
"A TIGHT PELVIC FLOOR IS DUE
TO THE DEMANDS OF A
FAST PACED LIFE."
Strong, but soft
“What's important to know? Well, most women I see in classes tend to have a relatively tight pelvic floor. This is often due to the demands of a fast paced life. Running from one meeting to another, experiencing high levels of stress, fear or anxiety, holding up your urine for too long, and not taking time to relax and restore in general - all these factors can influence the pelvic floor muscles. Tightening those pelvic floor muscles even more is not always beneficial for everyone, especially during pregnancy. The way I see it: in the most optimal state, you have a responsive pelvic floor. This means the muscles can hold in urine when needed - for example when sneezing, jumping and laughing, but they can also soften, and open up. The latter is obviously needed while giving birth, so your baby can pass through.”
Breathing & gentle movement
“Knowing how to activate your pelvic floor is crucial for all kinds of reasons, for example for core stability, and for moving safely, so I definitely pay attention to an active pelvic floor in my classes. But it is just as important to learn how to relax that area, and to release any tension. In my classes, I use breathing techniques combined with gentle movement to do so. When practiced regularly, these tools can really support you during labor as well. And in life in general, I believe.”
Check out STUDIO MAMAISON on Instagram for some short and easy routines you can try at home. Also: Maxime will start organizing pilates sessions on a beautiful spot in Amsterdam real soon, so stay tuned. Interested in private lessons? Send her a DM!
ps. Our legging is perfect for your pilates workout - or any other workout, by the way. Find it here!