Pregnancy and childbirth wreak havoc on your pelvic floor, leaving over stretched and weakened. You need a strong, aligned pelvic floor to help you through your pregnancy, and to avoid many potential problems postpartum. This will help you through a possibly better, faster birth experience, and faster recovery.
A strong pelvic floor is only half the battle though. You also need a pelvic floor that can RELAX!
These simple exercises are the foundation to correcting a weak, tight, and overstretched pelvic floor; making it stronger and functioning better than ever!
CONSIDERATION: Please consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program, or if you experience pain or discomfort (stopping performing exercise immediately)
DISCLAIMER ABOUT MY AFFILIATE LINKS: The products I mention I use and recommend because they improved my life in some way (big or small). If you click the link and buy, I get paid.
Why do I need to do pelvic floor exercises?
If you’re pregnant or postpartum, chances are you are dealing with Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, or a weakened pelvic floor.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction is the inability to control the muscles of your pelvic floor. This is caused by pregnancy, childbirth, and other life situations such as obesity, pelvic surgery, nerve damage, or traumatic injury to your pelvic region.
And if left untreated can lead to long term discomfort, long term colon damage, or infection.
- Incontinence (Pee yourself a little when you lift, sneeze, cough, exercise, or stand up)
- Lower back pain
- Abdominal pain
- Rectum pressure
- Pain or discomfort during sex
I want to give you daily exercises that are all about building a foundation to a better working body. These exercises move you towards healing and correcting imbalances in…
#1 Your breathing
#2 Pelvic floor
Starting and maintaining, the correct pelvic floor exercises, during and after pregnancy has so many benefits. Less aches and pains during pregnancy, a faster and potentially less painful birthing experience, and faster recovery.
So, before you continue or jump back into your old workout routine, fitness class, running, yoga, dancing, or lifting your babies, DO THESE EXERCISES! NO matter what fitness level you are at, these daily moves will improve your body and active life.
You’ll have more confidence in your workouts and in your body, because done properly and regularly, you will feel a positive shift in your body.
This is a routine you should add daily if you’re…
- Mom of any number of kids that hasn’t focused on rebuilding pelvic floor strength
- Any fitness level but aware there is a problem to be fixed
- Experiencing any of the listed problems above
It’s an absolute MUST that you correct your breathing pattern BEFORE preforming the next exercises to correct your pelvic floor, because yes, breathing IS an exercise.
Supra-Diaphragmatic | Chest Breathing
Breathing above the diaphragm, or chest breathing, is the type of breathing that’s correlated with stress. People breathe into the chest in stressful or anxiety filled moments.
It’s when a person doesn’t take time to redirect their breathe to the diaphragm and relief tension, that this stressful breathing then becomes their normal breathing pattern. This keeps the body in a near constant “Fight, Flight or Freeze” mode. It’s a terrible cycle for the body and mind.
People who breath in and out of their chest may also suffer from:
- Poor Posture
- Acid Reflux
- Sleep Apnea
- Mouth Breather
- Audible Breather
- Urinary Incontinence (pee themselves on accident)
- Pain During Sex
- Deviated Septum ( sideways displacement of the wall between the nostrils)
Sub-Diaphragmatic Breathing | 3- Dimensional Rib & Belly Breathing
This is breathing at and below the diaphragm. This breathing keeps the body relaxed, and is how we are intended to breath.
Sub-diaphragmatic shouldn’t be used to strictly “belly” breathe, especially when pregnant, postpartum, and with diastasis recti. Belly breathing is deep breath in that forces the belly out, and when your abs are already separated it causes more overstretching.
Your focus should be on expanding your rib cage. Your belly will expand naturally without extra force.
Your Breathing Exercise
- Lying on your back, flat on floor with knees bent and feet flat. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly.
- Now, close your eyes. This will help tremendously with mind/body connection.
- Next, inhale and exhale through your nose, and just notice which naturally rises for you; your chest or belly?
- This time, on the inhale through your nose move your hands to your rib cage and feel them expand.
- Now exhale through your nose and feel your ribs come together.
- Do this until you feel it becomes more natural for you to breath this way, about 10 repetitions.
Why this is great for the pelvic floor?
Diaphragmatic breathing teaches your pelvic floor to contract and relax when it should. When you breath in your diaphragm presses your organs downward onto the pelvic floor. When you exhale, your organs come up and your pelvic floor relaxes and comes up, ideally.
If you have poor posture, your diaphragm cannot expand properly (we’ll discuss this shortly). This leaves your pelvic floor not performing properly either, which causes a tight or painful pelvic floor.
This “redirecting” of the breathe is so much more beneficial than the pelvic floor. It improves mind and body all over, by relieving that stressful “chest” breathing, and forcing you to improve posture.
Next, you will combine your Breathe Work with the Pelvic Floor Work.
Pelvic Floor Work
Clock Work | NOT KEGELS
What you should NOT BE DOING:
- Let me repeat this…drop everything you’ve heard about Kegels! I do not want you to “stop the flow of pee”! It’s essential that you focus on muscles that connect together. Pelvic floor connecting to transverse abdominis muscles (deep abs)
- Squeezing those muscles together doesn’t do anything to your pelvic floor. It actually causes you to be too tight (relaxing your pelvic muscles is important and half the exercise)
- Also, you will NOT “tuck” your pelvis or do an “anterior tilt”
- You SHOULD NOT feel movement in your hips or butt
- Do Not “bring belly button to spine” in this move
Now, picture your pelvis as a clock.
- Keeping in the same position as before, laying down with eyes closed.
- Picture your pelvis as the clock above.
- Place your hands on your hips. This will allow you to feel any unnecessary movement.
- Breathe in through your nose and relax everything and expand rib cage.
- Breathe out through your nose and bring 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock together by bringing the top of the pubic bone towards your belly, then down towards your spine. Under your fingertips you should feel your abdominal muscles tighten.
- Repeat this several times until you feel you’ve got it down, maybe 3-5 times.
- Now, add in bringing together 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, so everything is coming together.
- Repeat the total movement of Sub-Diaphragmatic Breathing | 3- Dimensional Rib & Belly Breathing and Clock Work | Pelvic Exercise for 10-30 breathes.
Why this is great for the pelvic floor
Picturing your pelvis as a clock helps you mentally (mind/body connection) work ALL the muscles of the pelvic floor, teaching it to contract and release in all the appropriate places.
Instead of isolating one portion of the pelvis, like in Kegels.
Using this pelvic floor exercise incorporates the deep abdominal muscles, which is connected, making them all stronger and better functioning by working together.
So now, you’ve got down the Breathe Work and Pelvic Floor Work. Let’s add the final step to bring it all together.
Standing Activation through the Feet | Barefoot Exercise
Of course we can’t get through life flat on our backs, so let’s bring this to our feet.
The core’s main job is to stabilize us, especially when upright and moving. Your feet can do a much better job either barefoot or with barefoot shoes. I encourage you to workout every time barefoot. And to go barefoot as much as possible.
The mind/body connection has a greater sense of what’s happening and how to respond when your feet can feel the ground.
So to continue on, you will incorporate the 3-D Breathing and Clock Work, with the Foot Work.
- Barefoot, come into a split stance- one foot out in front of you and the other behind you, with a soft front knee.
- Now, inhale and spread your toes of the front foot.
- Exhale and engage your pelvic floor using the “Clock Work” technique.
- While engaging, root your front foot to the ground with spread toes. You should feel your arch slightly lift.
- Hold this 10 seconds, breathing shallow.
- Switch sides and repeat the steps. Continue switching feet, for a total of 4-6 repetitions.
- Using all the same direction above, you will spread your toes on both feet on the inhale.
- Exhale and ground both feet to the ground.
- Continue to hold this for 10 seconds.
- Relax and repeat for a total of 4-6 repetitions.
Why this is great for the pelvic floor
We talked earlier about chest breathing, and another reason this happens is because of poor posture. Your ribs cannot fully expand when your hunched over!
The best way to correct any imbalance in the body, especially posture is to go barefoot.
In order for your pelvic floor to function properly, the body MUST be aligned properly. Going barefoot helps correct your posture and alignment.
Walking is the #1 exercise I give to pregnant, postpartum, sedentary, active, and ALL! Everyone really benefits from a daily walking regimen.
Of course I’m going to say you need barefoot shoes for your walk. These are a great minimal running shoe.
Any type of walk is just fine…with kids, with stroller, walking path, with a group (check out Facebook for a local moms walking group), or do what I do!
I walk laps in my backyard, push my littles in the stroller up and down my long driveway, walk with my bigs while we have conversations. Anything I can do to get it done!
I know as a mom, adding anything to my day can seem impossible, so any way you can do it is great!
*I never recommend treadmills, especially when a healthy pelvic floor is the goal.
If you feel you’re missing out on cardio, here’s is a way to get your heart pumping…
- Warm up for 5-10 minutes with the pelvic exercises.
- Put on your barefoot shoes
- Start with a standard pace walk for 3-5 minutes.
- Then, you will speed walk, bringing up the heart-rate enough that you find it difficult to hold a conversation. This will be 1 minute long.
- Now, this will be your pace | 4 minute walk-1 minute speed walk for 30 minutes.
Why this is great for the pelvic floor
Walking gently heals and strengthens the pelvic floor and transverse abdominis.
It’s a great cardio option for pregnant, postpartum, and for healing diastasis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction.
Walking helps loosen joints and hips for coming childbirth.
And my favorite, helps clear your mind and relieve stress.
Sitting Exercises on Exercise Ball
Sitting on the couch rounds your back, weakens your ab muscles, tightens the pelvis and hamstrings, and totally kills your posture. So just sit on a ball instead!
Your ball should be appropriate height when using, so before you buy make sure you look at the measurement chart. Otherwise, the ball may be too high or not high enough.
Sitting on ball
- Grab your ball and sit on it. I usually place my yoga mat underneath.
- Make sure your center and your butt isn’t rounded under. You should have a neutral spine.
- And just sit like this, replacing your couch and chairs with the ball.
- In the same seated position, you will add movement by circling your hips clockwise for 1 minute.
- Repeat in opposite direction for 1 minute
- You can repeat this back and forth as long as it feels good.
- Place hands on knees with legs hip width apart
- On your breathe in slightly look up, press chest through and curve your spine
- On your exhale, tuck your chin, pull belly button to spine, and round back
- You will continue this movement following your breathe for 1 minute.
Why this is great for the pelvic floor
The ball is such a simple and effective way to strengthen your core, which is your pelvic floor and abs. Sitting upright on a ball slightly actives your deep abdominal muscles, helping your spine keep upright in good posture.
The moving exercises are great to use as warm ups for your hips, abs, and pelvis.
*Bonus! You can totally sit on your ball while doing the Breathe Work, Pelvic Floor Work, and Foot Activation!
Put all these moves together for a great warm up!
An exercise ball is very cost effective, and can be used for so many more exercises! It helps strengthens the abs without much effort, release the pelvic floor, forces you to sit upright.
If I could recommend one supplement to consume while rebuilding your pelvic floor, it would be collagen powder. You should also add collagen through food, like beef broth, that way your getting other nutrients.
Collagen is everywhere in the body including the bones, skin, and connective tissue. The connective tissue of the pelvic floor is the focus here. It becomes stretched out and damaged during pregnancy and birth.
Now, we know the body can repair itself typically just fine, but by adding in a collagen supplement you can speed up the process and make it stronger and more elastic. You can have an even better pelvic floor than before pregnancy and birth by doing everything I have shown you!
Why is this great for the pelvic floor?
Taking a collagen supplement on top of proper nutrition simply helps you heal faster.
What do I do now?
I just love how this all comes together! 3-D breathing helps you contract and relax the pelvis. But the breathing won’t work if you have poor posture, and the barefoot exercise helps correct bad posture.
These are the exact exercises I started with when I knew there was a problem with my pelvic floor. And I continue to do these DAILY.
Doing these exercises daily, like every morning, is a great way to start the day. Or using it as a warm up is a great option too, like I incorporate into this workout routine.
If you’re a complete beginner to exercising, and are starting here… that’s FANTASTIC! That means you have the advantage of starting fresh!
Now, if you’ve been exercising a while, there’s a certain pattern and rhythm you and your body does when performing exercises. You can retrain your body and breathing for a better you!
So what do you think?
How has your pelvic floor affected you in everyday life and workouts? Has it held you back in any ways? Is there a program or specific plan you follow?