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9 Postpartum Pelvic Floor Exercises

Updated: May 29, 2022


Postpartum Pelvic Floor Exercises

What exactly is the pelvic floor? Did you know it consists of layers of muscles that support the bladder, uterus and bowels?

Located at the base of your pelvis, these muscles run from the front of your pubic bone all the way to the back of your tailbone.

During pregnancy, these muscles are placed under increased strain and the pressure placed on them during birth causes them to stretch even further. As always, there is a range of severity per each individual. For some, these muscles go back to normal functioning after birth pretty quickly, for others it might take years of continued effort or even surgery to regain normal function.

Today, I will give you several different exercises that you can do postpartum that will help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and bring them as close to their pre-pregnancy state as possible.

Postpartum Pelvic Floor Exercises

It is just as important to engage your pelvic floor as it is to release it. When you release, do so fully. And breathe! When you inhale, you should release and while you exhale you should engage. Muscles need to fully release before they can fully re-engage and get stronger.


As always, check with your doctor to make sure you are ready for exercise. Usually it is recommended to wait until 6 weeks postpartum, but you might not feel ready at that point! It is so important to listen to your body during this time. The more you push yourself, the more you will set yourself back. As you rebuild your foundation, lay each brick one by one, as purposefully as possible. In the end, you will have a strong, balanced and functional powerhouse. 💪🏻


9 Postpartum Pelvic Floor Exercises


The Elevator

Sitting at the edge of a chair, with good posture, imagine you have an internal elevator. Let’s say this elevator has 12 floors. From the base of your pelvic floor, start pulling up.

Go to level 6. Hold. Then take it to level 12, hold. Release. Do this three times.

Then, take it directly to level 12, hold. Release. Do this three times.

Then, take it slowly up to level 12, and slowly back down through level 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 0. Do this three times.

Imagery: It has been helpful for me to envision my pelvic floor. First off, it’s about the size of your hand, from fingertip to wrist. This covers the area from the front of your pelvis and crosses all the way to the back of your tailbone. Personally, I was under the impression my pelvic floor was a lot smaller than this, but it has empowered me to fully utilize the length of my pelvic floor. A master teacher once told me to imagine it like a pool noodle was between my legs, and to feel buoyant. This has also helped me to truly engage my pelvic floor instead of overworking the gluteals or abdominals. Try to first engage your pelvic floor before your abdominals.


Marching

Lying on your back, arms pressed down by your sides, place your feet flat on the mat with your knees bent.

First, activate your arms. Imagine you are a gymnast on the parallel bars(You can even make fists here) like you're pressing yourself up against gravity.

Next, make sure your pelvic floor is pulled up about 70-80%. With your pelvis steady, bring your right knee up to a 90 degree angle, making a tabletop shape.

Lower the foot back down to the mat and then while the pelvis is steady, switch to the other leg.

The goal is to keep the pelvis stable while moving the legs freely.


Squat prep

While standing with your legs in parallel position, imagine that pool noodle between your legs. Imagine both ends pointing upward, as if you were floating in a pool. Your pelvic floor is buoyant.

Next, bend your knees slightly, leaning your torso forward at an angle. Place your hands on your thighs, fingers pointing inward, towards each other. Elbows are wide. You can use your arms for a bit of support, but try not to over use them.

Now, place both hands on your right thigh. Shift most of your weight into the right foot. Keep your pelvic floor pulled up.

Then, take your time as you switch over to the left thigh. Shifting your weight mostly into the left foot. Notice if your pelvis feels out of alignment or not. Continue to support your pelvis from all around.

Do this 3-5 times as you feel necessary.

Lunge prep

If you feel confident in the squat prep exercise and are ready to take the next step(literally) then proceed with this exercise.

From the squat position described above, with both hands on you right thigh, step your left foot back. Your left heel is up and you should be on the ball of the left foot. Hold. Make sure your pelvic floor feels buoyant and your pelvis is supported all the way around.

Then, step that foot forward to where it started from. Shift your hands to the left thigh, stepping your right foot back. Hold, and again imagine that buoyant pelvis.

Do this 3-5 times as you feel confident.


The Heel Raise

Stand with your legs in parallel position(feel free to have a chair close by or something you can hold for balance, if needed). Again, feel your pelvic floor pulling up like an elevator, about 70% of the way. Feel your abdominals pulling in and upward as well. Imagine your abdominals wrapping around your spine for support.

Then, lift your heels. Hold that imaginary pool noodle up while you slowly lower your heels back down. Do this three times.

The 2x4

If you're ready to add on to the heel raise, continue with this exercise.

Lift your heels. Bend your knees slightly.

Lower your heels while holding your pelvic floor up.

Now straighten your legs. Release.

When you’re ready, do this again twice more.


Now, reverse. Keeping your pelvic floor buoyant, bend your knees. Lift your heels. Straighten your legs, pulling that elevator all the way up to the top floor. As you lower your heels, try to keep that pelvic floor lifted. At the bottom, release. Repeat two more times.


Standing Star

Stand with your legs in parallel, slightly wider than your hips.

Hold your arms out to the sides, in line with your shoulders with your palms facing forward.

First, pull up that imaginary pool noodle between your legs. You’re going to shift most of your weight onto the right foot, and before your left leg lifts off the ground —imagine your left hip lifting first. You’re going to do a small side tilt(think: I’m a little teacup!) from your hips. They should try to move as one unit.

Lift your left leg off the ground if you can. Hold that pelvic floor up.

Then, lower back down. Repeat with the other leg.

Do this 3x each side.

Do your best to tip your pelvis as one unit, pulling up from the front and back equally.


Jump rope prep

Stand with your legs in parallel position, holding your hands at your hips as if you’re holding a jump rope. As your wrists move that imaginary jump rope, bounce up and down with your heels. Your toes stay on the ground.

While you do this, hold your pelvic floor up. Think about jumping and what that would mean for your pelvic floor.

Do this week after week, and when you’re ready to start jumping - go for it!

You can also take this into a running prep exercise before the full jump…


Running prep

Stand with your legs in parallel position, holding onto a chair for balance if you need it.

Lift both heels and your pelvic floor.

Lower one heel down, keeping your pelvis pulled up.

Lift that heel and switch to the other foot. At first you can go slow but as your pelvic floor gets stronger, you can start going faster and faster.

Your goal is to prevent your hips dipping from side to side. They should be held up from the front, back, and sides.

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