Britt van Hees
July 20, 2023
8 min

3 ways to support your pelvic floor as a new mama or mama-to-be

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By: Britt van Hees, Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist, Mama, and Founder of 1 Below

Often women find themselves in my office when they are pregnant or newly postpartum. They’ve heard about the pelvic floor, but are not really sure where it is or what it does. They want to make sure their pelvic muscles are ready for the challenge of birth and motherhood ahead. Well, today I’ll share three ways to support and love on your pelvic floor to prepare for the journey ahead.

1. Recognize the importance of pelvic floor

One of the best ways to love your pelvic floor is to recognize its importance in your life. A pelvic floor is a group of muscles found in the bottom of the pelvis. These muscles control anything and everything to do with peeing, pooping, and sex. They also play a role in vaginal births, relaxing, and opening up to help the baby get from the womb to the world. That’s pretty important, right?

Of course, the pelvic floor’s value is not exclusive to pregnancy and postpartum. These muscles have been with us from childhood 👶 until now 🤰, and they will be with us for a long while still 👵. However, motherhood provides an opportunity to (re)connect with the pelvic floor and lay a foundation for our future pelvic health and well-being.

Motherhood provides an opportunity to (re)connect with the pelvic floor and to lay a foundation for our future pelvic health and well-being.

2. Find your own pelvic floor

In order to show some love to your pelvic floor, you need to know where it is. The easiest way to find your pelvic floor is to find where the muscles attach on your pelvis. But first, let’s appreciate the pelvis and the pelvic floor muscles in sitting and lying positions.

Okay, now that you’ve had a moment to take it in, let’s find where your pelvic floor is...okay are you ready…prepare yourself 😉.

The pelvic floor muscles attach,

from behind the pubic bone

to the tailbone

and along the interior sides of your pelvis, just inside and above your two sit bones.

Aaaand, that’s it. That’s where it is. Here’s a picture to help you find those bones on your body:

Now, place your hand in the center of these points, so that your palm covers the green triangles. That's where your pelvic floor is - with your middle palm covering the vagina and the middle knuckle of your middle finger covering the anus - or thereabouts 😉. So now that you know where to look for your pelvic floor, let’s see if you can connect with it.

Place your hand in the center of these points, so that your palm covers the green triangles. That’s where your pelvic floor is.

3. (re)Connect with your pelvic floor

Connection is the key to pelvic floor love and support. You now have an idea of where these muscles are, but can you actually feel them? It is sometimes difficult to sense pelvic floor movement because of its location inside the pelvis. Here are a few ways to develop your own pelvic floor awareness, control, and connection:

  • Pelvic floor breathing connection: lay down with your legs supported on a couch or chair. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest and follow your breath. Slowly inhale and follow your breath to your bottom hand. Do this several times until it feels easy. Then, see if you can follow your breath into your vagina and anus. This can take some time to sense the movement of the breath into your pelvic floor. Have patience and you will slowly start to develop an awareness of the ebb and flow of your pelvic floor muscles in relation to your breath.
  • Pelvic floor visual connection: Get a mirror and take a look at your perineum (the green triangle area between your sit bones). You can do this lying in bed with lots of pillows to support your upper body. Try relaxing your pelvic floor muscles and see your anus and vagina soften. Try contracting your pelvic floor muscles (as if you’re holding in a fart or stopping yourself from peeing), and see your anus and vagina tighten. See what happens when you try the deep breathing you practiced earlier.
  • Pelvic floor tactile connection: You can try this lying in bed supported by pillows or standing with one foot up on the toilet. Place a gloved finger* inside your vagina or anus. Try the same type of relaxing, contracting, and breathing into your pelvic floor muscles, as you did with the mirror exercise. Can you feel the increased pressure on your finger when you contract or inhale and the release of pressure when you relax or exhale? (*Please note: if you want to try feeling the difference in the vagina versus the anus, great! Just make sure you get a new glove before switching holes 😉. Also, for postpartum mamas, it’s best to wait to do this exercise until after your post-birth 6-week check-up with your midwife or doctor)

Keep on loving your pelvic floor

You now have the knowledge and essential techniques to love and support your pelvic floor.

Are you ready to learn more or do you have more questions about pelvic floor health-like issues with urinary urgency or unwanted leaking, problems with pooping, or pain with sex?

Check out 1 Below for more information or set up a free Pelvic Wellness Check in with me to get on the road to optimal pelvic wellness today!

#pelvicfloor #pelvicfloorhealth #pelvicfloorexercises #postpartumrecovery #pregnancy #pelvicfloorpregnancy #preparingforbirth