The pelvic floor consists of 14 muscles with attachment points at the front, back, and sides of your pelvis. ⠀ ⠀
The term “kegel” is well known, but it only focuses on the front of the pelvic floor. You want to engage the entire pelvic floor in a full range of motion- this means being able to both contract and fully relax and lengthen your pelvic floor. It is important to be able to relax and lengthen your pelvic floor during labor. Being able to relax your pelvic floor is vital for the pushing stage!
How to find the front, back & sides of your pelvic floor: ⠀
1. Sit upright in a chair ⠀
2. FRONT of the pelvic floor: the “kegel”- imagine you have to pee and stop the flow of urine- contract those muscles and then release like you would if peeing ⠀
3. BACK of PF: imagine you are trying to stop yourself from passing gas- contract those muscles, then release **try not to engage your glutes** ⠀
4. SIDES of PF: sit on your hands with one hand under each of your SITZ bones- imagine bringing your SITZ bones together and then releasing ⠀ ⠀
Now put it all together! Practice bringing all four points together and upward and then fully releasing. You can imagine lifting a blueberry up with the muscles and then lowering it all the way back down. ⠀ ⠀
Final Step- coordinate with your 360 breath. See my blog post *here* (link to blog post #1) on how to do 360 breathing. On your inhale, allow your pelvic floor to relax, and on your exhale, draw your PF together + upward. This is your PFA-slow, and it targets the fibers that stabilize the pelvis and support the pelvic organs. Your pelvic floor muscles play a vital role during pregnancy and undergo added stress, so it is crucial they are strong enough to support the added weight of your baby. During postpartum, your PFA-slow exercises will aid in a faster recovery.
I began my PFA-slow exercises again within 24 hours of delivering my daughter, and it was a key aspect of my recovery protocol. I recommend pairing your 360 breathing and PFA-slow exercises with your Britsbarre classes to support your core during pregnancy and during postpartum recovery.
You got this mama.