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The Importance of the Pelvic Floor During Pregnancy

pregnant woman stretches on the floor

Pregnancy is a time of profound change for a woman's body, and one of the areas that undergoes significant transformation is the pelvic floor. This group of muscles, ligaments, and tissues plays a crucial role in supporting the uterus, bladder, and bowel, as well as maintaining continence and sexual function. Ensuring the health and strength of your pelvic floor during pregnancy can lead to a smoother pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum recovery.


The Importance of the Pelvic Floor During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the weight of the growing baby places increased pressure on the pelvic floor muscles. Hormonal changes, particularly the increase in relaxin, also cause these muscles to relax and stretch in preparation for childbirth. This combination of added pressure and increased elasticity can lead to a range of issues, including:

  • Urinary Incontinence: Leaking urine when coughing, sneezing, or laughing.

  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse: When pelvic organs drop from their normal position due to weakened pelvic floor muscles.

  • Pelvic Pain: Discomfort in the lower back, hips, and pelvic region.

  • Sexual Dysfunction: Pain during intercourse and reduced sexual satisfaction.


How Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Can Help

PFPT is designed to strengthen and support the pelvic floor muscles, helping to prevent and manage the issues mentioned above. Here’s how PFPT can benefit you during pregnancy:

  1. Strengthening Exercises: Tailored exercises that focus on strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can help maintain their integrity throughout pregnancy. Kegel exercises, for example, are often recommended to help tone these muscles.

  2. Education: A pelvic floor physical therapist provides valuable education on how to perform daily activities and exercises safely during pregnancy. This education helps in avoiding strain on the pelvic floor and adopting better body mechanics.

  3. Pain Relief: PFPT offers techniques to manage and relieve pelvic pain. Manual therapy and targeted exercises can help alleviate discomfort in the hips, lower back, and pelvic region.

  4. Preparation for Labor: Strengthening and learning to control your pelvic floor muscles can make labor and delivery easier. PFPT can teach you techniques to relax and engage these muscles effectively during childbirth.

  5. Postpartum Recovery: After delivery, PFPT can assist in the recovery of the pelvic floor. Exercises and treatments help restore muscle tone, reduce pain, and improve bladder and bowel control.


By incorporating PFPT into your routine, you can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, manage pain, prepare for childbirth, and ensure a smoother postpartum recovery. Take the proactive step of consulting with a pelvic floor physical therapist to enjoy a healthier, more comfortable pregnancy journey.

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About Michelle

Michelle is a Doctor of Physical Therapy at Webb Physical Therapy, located in Lawrence, Kansas.  She's worked in PT for close to 10 years, and believes each patient should be treated with a holistic, whole person approach to healing.

She is devoted to helping her patients develop individualized treatment plans to help them achieve their specific goals.

Call (785) 813-1338 for a free 15 minute phone consultation, or email WebbPelvicHealth@gmail.com

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