How to Best Prepare Your Pelvic Floor Muscles for Labour
Preparing the pelvic floor muscles for labour can help to facilitate an easier birth, reduce your risk of complications, and improve postnatal recovery.
During your pregnancy, women will often hear about the tightening and strengthening of pelvic floor muscles. Preparing your pelvic floor muscles in advance is vital for women before and after childbirth. This can not only help ease the pain and ease of childbirth but there is also less likelihood of problems afterwards that can include incontinence issues and even the risk of prolapses.
In addition to that, you will also want to know how to give your pelvic girdle more support during this time. Working with a Physio instructor before and after your pregnancy is one of the best ways to avoid many of these problems. The reasons behind this have a lot to do with your pelvic floor muscles that begin to experience advancing changes.
Towards the end of your pregnancy, which is commonly between (36-37 weeks), the demands on your pelvic floor begin to change dramatically. This is a point where your pelvic floor starts to prepare for delivering your child. Many of the changes you can expect will include the superficial muscles that are located below your pelvic arch.
Pelvic Arch Bone
Your pelvic arch bone helps to protect daily functions such as urinating and will not see any changes or stretching in this region during childbirth. So any changes that do happen will occur beneath your Urethra within muscles that are underneath your pelvic arch bone.
Pubococcygeus Muscles & Puborectalis Muscles
This muscle group that’s located below your pelvic bone support muscles that are located between the Pubococcygeus and the Puborectalis muscle zone. This is where a majority of the stretching will occur further down where these muscles allow for childbirth. These muscles are capable of stretching 3x their normal length to deliver a normal-sized baby.
This is all thanks to hormonal influences that are delivered throughout your body before and during childbirth. It’s also important to note that childbirth is slow and sustained over a length of time to allow for these muscles to prepare properly.
This is why it’s very important to help give these particular muscles the proper exercise so they have the elasticity to stretch easier when it’s time to deliver your child. This preparation starts anywhere from 36 to 37 weeks, or if you’ve experienced pelvic girdle pain at that point or not.
The muscles in the pelvic floor tend to become tight at this stage in your pregnancy and they’re also associated with reacting to various types of pain. This can also be related to intimate issues including intercourse that was painful for you, or even the uncomfortable stress of bladder pain. It’s not limited to stress from back pain that can also trigger these muscles in the pelvic floor to tighten.
Speak to a Pelvic Physiotherapist
Getting ready for giving birth is always an important step to helping yourself and your child to have an easier time during the labour process. We recommend that you start well before this point to book your initial Physio consult. Our experienced team of Physios will help instruct you further on what to expect and how you can prepare before and after your child is born. This helps make your labour experience less painful and difficult for your pelvic floor muscles. Our dedicated pelvic Physio team provide pregnant women with an essential and comprehensive service to prepare them for labour.
Bump, Birth & Beyond
Bump, Birth & Beyond is our suite of services for pre-natal and post-natal women. Our Pelvic Physiotherapists work with you throughout your pregnancy to empower your choices and improve your outcomes.
Labour TENS Hire
A TENs machine is a safe, effective and drug-free pain management device that women can use during labour to manage their pain and discomfort during childbirth. In this video, Principal Physiotherapist Angela James explains how to correctly use a labour TENS device. For more support with TENS hire and to work with a Physiotherapist to prepare for your birth, please get in touch.