carolyn Vandyken is a pelvic physiotherapist and co-owner of Pelvic Health Solutions, a school that teaches pelvic floor problems and incontinence. She recommends the following protective measures for the pelvic floor during pregnancy and after childbirth:
- Preparing for Pregnancy
First and foremost, you should prepare your pelvic floor well for childbirth. Kegel exercises can help lessen the strain on your pelvic floor during press labor.
- The First Weeks of Birth
Your body needs time to recover and heal. If you have had a perineal tear or cut, use cooling pads and a pillow to keep your pelvic floor higher when lying down, and do light pelvic floor exercises in the first few days after birth.
Towards the end of the first week after birth, you can start with sitz baths to better heal stressed tissue.
But first ask your doctor or midwife if that's okay. Avoid strenuous sports exercises to protect your pelvic floor. It takes about six weeks to get it right again.
Read more about how to gently train your pelvic floor for the first six weeks after birth.
- Take care of your digestion
Do whatever you can to avoid constipation. Drink plenty of water, eat between 30-40 g of fiber every day and put your feet on a footstool when you have a bowel movement.
While excreting, wrap your hand in toilet paper and apply some back pressure to your perineum to protect possible sutures and wounds and the vaginal area during bowel movements.
- In the first year after birth
Begin with Kegel exercises as soon as it is comfortable and painless to tense your muscles. This also helps the stressed tissue in the healing process, because the area is then supplied with more blood.
Also do the ""the Knack"" exercise where you tighten your muscles just before sneezing, coughing, or before lifting your baby to minimize downward pressure of your organs on the pelvic floor.
Read more about how to treat your pelvic floor in the first year after birth.