Pelvic floor exercises to stop you wetting yourself!

Pelvic floor exercisers don’t have to be boring and they will stop you weeing yourself!

The pelvic floor (PF) muscles are located between your legs and run from your pubic bone at the front to the base of your spine at the back. You can think of them as a shopping bag or hammock which supports all of your internal organs – an important job. To stick with this analogy, if you imagine you keep loading up your shopping bag its base will come under more and more strain. In the same way, the weight of your growing baby will put increased pressure on these muscles. They can also be weakened and experience some trauma through childbirth.

Read more about the function of your pelvic floor and get tons of exercises on my latest page.

Can I do sit ups during pregnancy?

The answer to this is yes and no!

You can carry on working your tummy muscles doing sit up style exercises up to around 16 weeks (or after the first trimester if they become any way uncomfortable). These will keep your rectus abdominis muscles (the top-most layer of abs) strong during early pregnancy. However, from the start of your pregnancy you should also be working your deep, core muscles (your transverses abdominis or ‘TVA’) and this is safe to continue for the whole of your pregnancy. You do this with moves like ab squeezes and superman raises (see the 3-Plan for loads of ideas), keeping your tummy muscles pulled in tight.

After 16 weeks you should avoid doing sit ups for two reasons.

  • Firstly, your bump will be growing and laying on your back for a prolonged period of time may make you feel light headed or restrict blood flow to your baby.
  • Secondly your rectus abdominis muscles will become thinner and weaker as your pregnancy progresses and your bump gets bigger. There’s nothing you can do about this! They may separate (diastasis recti) and doing sit-ups will make this worse and may cause a hernia.

You are much better of during trimester two and three focussing on working your core muscles and pelvic floor muscles using exercises which are stable and safe (again see the 3-Plan for loads of ideas). There will be plenty of time to do crunches until your heart’s content once your baby is born, although you need to wait until any abdominal separation has closed to less than two-fingers width.

I have seen a few web sites which recommend doing the plank during pregnancy. I would strongly advise against doing planks during pregnancy as the moves quickly raises the blood pressure and is pretty intense for most women with a bump (or without!) If you really want to continue then do a modified plank standing against the wall or on your knees.

Remember working your tummy won’t ‘squeeze’ your baby, give them less room or bring on labour. It will help your regain your shape more easily after the birth. Remember to try to do ab squeezes to work your floor and pelvic floor exercises most days; you’ll be glad you did!