Fitness Coach Jen Dugard reports on 5 things women should know about their pelvic floor
You would think that pelvic floor education would be part of our education as females, but it’s not. Not only do we, as women, often use random names for our ‘lady-bits’ rather than their proper terms: vagina and vulva (do you even know what bit that is?) we are even less likely to properly understand our internal muscles, what they do and how, if we knew more, we could work with our bodies more and in turn feel more empowered by how absolutely amazing they are.
Let’s jump into FIVE amazing things that women need to know about their pelvic floor, but don’t!
You can’t feel it on the outside
– and no exercise professional can tell you simply by touch if it’s switching on or anything at all about its strength, functionality, or endurance. To properly understand your pelvic floor, I always recommend my clients see a Women’s or Pelvic Health Physiotherapist – it’s these specialists that can assess your PF externally using Real Time Ultrasound and internal examinations (it’s not as scary as it sounds and it’s VERY informative)
Your Pelvic Floor needs to relax to (more) easily push a baby out
I’m always hesitant to use the word ‘easy’ when it comes to childbirth but what you do need to know is that a too tight or hypertonic pelvic floor can make pushing a baby out very challenging. Symptoms of a hypertonic PF could be re-occurring UTI’s, painful sex, glute, or lower back pain and urinary incontinence.
Knowing about your pelvic floor isn’t only relevant to mums
Yup! That’s right, no matter your age (or gender you have a pelvic floor) Due to the higher intensity that younger women are training we are seeing more symptoms of a hypertonic pelvic floor in this demographic. We know that knowledge is power so if we can also educate our younger women now, we will be setting them up for success in the long term both within their current training and if they choose to become a mother later in life.
An incorrect pelvic floor exercise may do more harm than good
Research suggests that 50-60% of women bare down (push out) on their pelvic floor (PF) instead of drawing it up (the correct movement) when they are told how to do their pelvic floor exercises verbally or they read them from a brochure. Imagine getting this movement wrong and then heading to the gym to lift a bar bell – you load up the bar, think you are drawing up at the hardest point of the exercise and now push out underload – Eek!
Leaking is common but not normal
After having a baby your pelvic floor is likely to be weakened and symptoms of incontinence are very common. However, these symptoms are not ‘normal’ to expect to live with for the rest of your life. Getting help by seeing a Women’s or Pelvic Health Physio is an absolute MUST!
To support your pelvic floor function, you can find a Women’s Health Physiotherapist in your area by heading to the ‘find a physio’ section over at https://mumsafe.com.au/physios/
Jen Dugard is the founder and creator of MumSafe™️ – the go-to website for mums to connect with Personal Trainers that are certified, experienced and partner with Women’s Health Physiotherapists so that you know you are in very safe hands.