Myth busting: the pelvic floor

Is it possible to work too hard on PFM?

Yes!!! The pelvic floor is like any other muscle in the body and it gets overworked through too many exercises. Unless you need to specifically strengthen a certain aspect of your floor (eg post natal) or are directed by a physiotherapist, daily exercising of your pelvic floor isn’t recommended.

Can you over-train your abs?

Here again, is an area whereby people think daily exercising is imperative to maintain core strength – but it isn’t. Giving the muscles time to rest and relax will promote better tone and function. Overtraining also creates muscle imbalances leading to further overuse injuries.

Can you be mistaken about the strength of abs or PFM?

Most definitely! Commonly we see more and more people with high tone abdominals or pelvic floor, who then start suffering from symptoms of leakage or pain or heaviness, who then go ahead and overtrain their muscles to improve the symptoms but end up making things worse. Thus, I feel a visit to your WH physio is imperative before embarking on a pelvic floor strengthening regime to prevent a worsening of symptoms.

The same applies for use of pelvic floor educators or muscle toning machines – they should only be used under advice from a professional because they can make it worse.

C-section/Vaginal Birth – is there a difference in sculpting the PFM?

Regardless of your birthing choice, you will still have been pregnant so your pelvic floor would have been under strain for nine months, making it vital to have that post natal check done to assess both the PFM and Abdominals prior to restarting your exercise regime. With a C-Section, your abdominals will feel more fragile and you will be protective of the scar which will load through your pelvic floor more. With Natural Birth, your PFM will be more fragile so you may find yourself bracing through your abdominals to create the strength need to support you through those first weeks of baby care. We are often asked if it is safer to have a C-Section over a vaginal birth but both carry risks. I feel its more important to prepare as well as you can for either to avoid as many of the possible complication as you can.

Can you damage your pelvic floor starting so soon after birth with exercise?

NO, in fact it is good to start encouraging muscle activation as soon as you can depending on the method of delivery. However I would not recommend using an educator before the 6 week mark unless prescribed by a physiotherapist.

Is it ok to run after having a baby?

Not before six weeks for a natural birth and 12 weeks for a C-Section, but here again I would recommend having your 6 week check up before embarking on int

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