Can I do pelvic floor muscle exercises while pregnant?

Pregnancy is a great time to start exercising!

The answer is yes, you can do pelvic floor muscle exercises when pregnant.

All women should perform pelvic floor exercises on a daily basis, preferably three times a day.

For women who experience problems—such as bladder or bowel leakage, or pelvic organ prolapse—pelvic floor muscle exercises should be practised up to six times a day.

For many women, the first time that they hear about pelvic floor exercises is during, or soon after, their first pregnancy. This is an excellent time to start a pelvic floor exercise programme and is completely safe to do at any stage of pregnancy.

During the first trimester, women are often overwhelmed with information, changes to their body or concerns about their pregnancy. It is common to “put off” doing things for themselves. Once the second trimester arrives, it is often a better time to start to focus on what your body needs to keep healthy during pregnancy, and to start to prepare for the birth and postpartum period.

As soon as you feel able to, it is an excellent plan to begin your pelvic floor exercises. Start with one set a day if that makes it more achievable and aim for ten slow squeezes, holding for up to ten seconds each time and relaxing fully between each one. Then do ten fast squeezes, again letting go fully between each one. Once you have developed a habit, aim to do these three times a day. However, if you struggle with them or experience any urinary leakage, then do speak to your midwife or a pelvic health physiotherapist for advice and support.

Keep doing these exercises throughout your pregnancy and after you have had your baby (take a day or two off immediately after and then ease your way back into them)!

Remember, any issues with your pelvic floor function should be mentioned to your midwife or pelvic health physiotherapist.

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