Our bodies are wondrous machines, especially when it comes to the pregnancy journey. For the most part, the human body naturally does what it needs to do to implant, develop, grow, nurture, strengthen and birth a baby with very little assistance from us and our actions. However, it is still vital to live a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy (as nutrition is something our bodies do need intervention and support with) and we need to accept that not all things are in our complete control. For some women, this includes pelvic floor control (pre and post birth) and that some extra preparation, assistance and help should be accessed to ensure a smooth and safe labour.
A good percentage of women suffer from pelvic issues including pain during sexual intercourse, exercise or internal inspections, and/or women who experience extremely painful periods. Some women have high anxiety (for a multitude of reasons) towards physical examinations, such as Pap smears and internal ultrasounds. These issues can lead to complications during pregnancy and birth if not reigned in by both Mother and Doctor.
The Pelvic Floor Muscles are the layer of muscles that support the pelvic organs, such as the bladder, bowel and uterus. Like all muscles, anxiety, worry or stress can cause a tightening, hardening or tensioning which will have a negative affect on your body's ability to labour and deliver your full-term baby, as easily as possible.
To allow full cervix dilation and facilitate the baby's head engagement in preparation for labour; strong yet relaxed pelvic floor muscles are required.
For some, this can be achieved through:
- learning and being aware of your pelvic floor muscles and sensations
- meditation and focused relaxation (regularly during pregnancy)
- pelvic floor muscle exercises (learn more here)
- regular, safe physical exercise
- the use of a fit/gym ball for balance and core strength
Some women swear by the notion of Hypnotherapy to help aide their preparation for labour and birth (both mentally and physically). Hypnosis is an altered state of mind that allows us to access our subconscious. When someone is under hypnosis, they go into what is referred to as a “trance state” where they experience a new outlook and a heightened focus.
Although this may sound a little woo-woo to you, it is important to keep an open mind when facing both the magic and challenges of pregnancy and childbirth.
If you experience pelvic pains, weakening (and/or tightening) or feel nervous about this topic, experiencing some hypnotic therapy may make the world of difference in your mental state, but also your labour and birthing experience.
We often get annoyed by the saying "your health related issues are all in your head", but on many occasions our outlook, emotions, fears and worries are in fact controlling (or at least assisting) a lot of our physical downfalls. Trying some natural remedies and options such as hypnotherapy can help you focus on healing, strengthening and being mindful of your areas of concern, such as your pelvis.
Why do pelvic floor muscles play such an important role in pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond?
The Levator Ani Muscle is the structure that supports the organs in your pelvis, anus and abdomen. They hold up these organs to avoid prolapse (slipping forward or down of the organs), however over-contracture of this muscle can slow or stop cervical dilation during labour which can lead to a Caesarean section.
A weak pelvic floor (post-birth) can lead to a slower recovery as well as other ongoing issues, such as;
Learning how to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles as well as relax them is very important in having a safer, smoother and more supported pregnancy, birth and recovery.
Keep an open mind to alternate ways in achieving healthy and strong pelvic control, and always seek your Doctor's advice and support on all of your pregnancy needs/concerns/worries.
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- Dealing with Aches & Pains During Pregnancy
- Green Smoothies to Drink During Pregnancy
- Sleeping Well During Pregnancy
- Avoiding and Treating Stretch Marks
- Cravings During Pregnancy
- Understanding Pregnancy Hormones