PT for Birth Preparation pt. 2: Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor

by Manreet Sangha, DPT

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Strengthening your pelvic floor during your first and second trimester

  • The pelvic floor works in synergy with the respiratory diaphragm by implementing eccentric relaxation during inhalation and concentric contraction during exhalation
  • Relax the pelvic floor muscles as you inhale
  • Engage the pelvic floor muscles as you exhale 1. Inhale: Pelvic floor goes down 2. Exhale: Pelvic floor goes up
  • How to perform a pelvic floor muscle contraction: 1. Imagine an elevator lifting your pelvic floor from the first floor to the second and third floor, then holding it for at least 5-7 seconds before relaxing 2. Think about pulling your underwear in 3. Think about bringing your sit bones together and lifting your perineum off the chair
  • Perform at least 30-80 reps per day with the goal of holding each contraction for 10 seconds
  • If you’re unable to hold for 10 seconds, begin with 3 second holds and work your way up
  • Perform functional activity training to mimic daily life activities and situations: squeeze your pelvic floor before you cough or sneeze to train yourself to prevent any leakage

Please reach out for further guidance or to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist. For more on PT for birth preparation, check out the other part of this series:

Part 1: Relaxing Your Pelvic Floor

Part 3: Performing a Perineal Massage to Prevent Tearing During Birth

Part 4: Birthing Position Recommendations

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