The Importance of Pelvic Floor Muscle Training During Pregnancy

If you are looking for some extra motivation and incentive to do your pelvic floor muscle training during pregnancy this blog may be just what you need to read.

There have been so many studies looking at the effect of pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) in pregnancy and research continues to give them a big thumbs up.

Why are they so valuable?

Firstly, PFMT helps to improve labor outcomes. When we learn to do our pelvic floor exercises correctly, we learn to fully contract and fully relax the muscles of the pelvis. Having the ability to fully relax your pelvic floor leads to more efficient pushing and subsequently facilitates a more successful vaginal delivery. In addition to this, PFMT was found to reduce the total duration of second stage labor aka the pushing phase of labor and did not show any increases in use of instruments during delivery. Furthermore, PFMT was also found to decrease the rate of 3rd degree perineal tears and significantly reduced the rate of 4th degree lacerations. What a huge motivating factor. 

If the above stats still haven’t convinced you to do your pelvic floor exercises, here are a few more reasons. Continent women who perform PFMT during pregnancy are 62% less likely to report urinary incontinence in both late pregnancy and early postpartum. This is such a common complaint that we see in the clinic and now we have even more evidence to support the effect of strengthening your muscles to help. YAY for no more leaking.

Finally, PFMT is encouraged as it helps to prevent symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. Long term training of these muscles continues to prevent symptoms i.e leaking with coughing and sneezing, pelvic heaviness and back ache to name a few.  PFMT under a 3month supervised program should be considered from 20 weeks of pregnancy, postpartum and for anyone with symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. All pelvic floor muscle training should include elements of contraction and relaxation.

Not sure how to do your PFMT correctly? We can help at Chevron Island Physio. Individual assessment and diagnosis of all pelvic floor conditions is best and enables a more accurate prescription of exercises tailored to your individual needs.

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