Many women have experienced the effects of the weakening of the pelvic floor, whether they have had children or not. It’s just not something we like to talk about but, for some, incontinence is part of life.
So let’s take a minute to de-mystify this topic and see what we can do about it.
The pelvic floor is a layer of muscles which connects the base of the pelvis bones in women and men. This muscle group supports the pelvic organs and stabilises your hips. Everyone can suffer the complications, such as incontinence and pain in the internal hip areas, of weak pelvic floor muscles. It’s most common in women after childbirth but can also be caused by many other things like heavy lifting, excessive coughing or high impact exercise.
I want to say it loud and clear, weak pelvic floors can be reversed through focused training of the muscle group. It’s never ‘too late’ to start working on these core muscles and reduce the impact of the effects on your daily life.
Pilates practice consists of movements which increase the strength of your core stabilising muscles, including your abdomen, hips and back. Engaging the pelvic floor muscles is essential as part of the abdominal strengthening exercises in Pilates class. There are specific exercises, like Kegels, that work solely on the pelvic floor but Pilates is one of the best practices to stretch and strengthen the entire group of muscles. Like making sure your core is a well-oiled machine, and all the parts work together!
Exercises that isolate these muscles, like Pilates, are especially important during pregnancy. The baby puts additional weight on your pelvis and by strengthening the muscles that hammocks your organs, your body can support the baby’s weight more effectively. Also, a strong pelvic floor can allow you to have more controlled labour that won’t tire you out much. It’s proven that the work you do during pregnancy on the pelvic floor will benefit you after birth with a quicker recovery. You will also be less likely to suffer incontinence after delivery.
So the good news is, there is a solution to any issues you have experienced from a weak pelvic floor, and you don’t need to ask your circle of friends to find it!