I shared my child birth story and I also wrote about the after party that they don’t tell you about. There is one more embarrassing but very common topic left: getting your pelvic floor (=bekkenbodem in Dutch) to function again. Let me tell you: this has been one hell of a battle for me. It has been 10 weeks since I gave birth to my adorable little Mini. But my back is still strained, the bump is still there (no abs in sight) and I still have to run to the bathroom after 3 cups of tea. In the last weeks I have done different exercises, went to physical therapists and bought the Mutu Mama program. I am becoming somewhat of a specialist in this topic. So here it is the full truth about getting that pelvic floor and your core to fully function again.
So let’s say you don’t do anything to strengthen your pelvic floor after pregnancy. When you get older, something happens with your uturus (and sometimes also some other parts) and you might need surgery to restore it. Not good. Does this happen to everyone? Ofcourse not but still there is a risk that this might happen.
Another horror scenario: when sneezing or jumping to excitedly, you cannot control everything down there. Also not good. Again, this doesn’t happen to everyone but it is a possibility.
Oh and then there is this nice thing called a diastasis recti. This is a fancy word for “your belly keeps sticking out because your abs are separated”. Again: not good.
The solution: aligning your muscles and strengthening the pelvic floor and your core.
MOMMY IN HEELS?
When I started to do some light exercise again I figured this would be easy. Boy was I wrong. For alignment to work, you need to learn to move in a different way. You cannot stick your hips out anymore but you need to keep them loose (this is really the best description I can give you). Last Saturday we had a party for our birthday. I wore ankle boots. Alignment & any form of heel (even if it is just 1,5 cm) don’t work well together. As we always suspected (but chose to ignore), heels mess up your posture.
NO MORE CRUNCHES (THANK GOD)
This one is counterintuitive at first: crunches are not recommended. Your muscles are not yet back in place and if you have a gap (=the diastasis thing) this will actually worsen. Before you jump for joy (crunches are definitely not my favourite exercise), you should train your lower abs and the ones on the side. I tried it now for several weeks but that bump is not getting smaller yet. I still look like a Kangaroo with my little pouch in the front.
LEGS LIKE AN ANGEL
Victoria’s Angel that is: squats and lunges are good for your core. I don’t know why. But my physical therapist and the Mutu Mama program make me do them a lot. Pilates is bad apparently. Again I don’t really know why but the Pilates 100 or the scissor exercises are a no-no.
AND IT GETS EVEN MORE COMPLICATED
So basically many common exercises are bad whilst others are really good. Also my physical therapist did a test to see how strong my pelvic floor muscles were. They are internal so you can imagine it was not one of my favourite examinations. I was under the impression I had been training this muscle for weeks. In reality I was training all kind of muscles around that area but not the right one. Epic fail. So if you are not sure: go and see a specialist to do the test.
Do you want your pelvic floor to function again? You really need to get into this stuff. Make sure you do the right exercises, work on your core and do a lot stretching. Then your core and your pelvic floor should improve. Eventually that is. I am still waiting.
So get started with this as soon as possible preferably during your pregnancy. If you have any questions or tips: let me know!