How do I Connect to my Pelvic Floor?

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

Having said that, there are steps that you can take postpartum to help your body begin to recover, as well as help reestablish your mind-body connection that has been lost through all the changes in your body during pregnancy. Postpartum recovery begins in a much simpler way than you might expect. 

We are going to begin with some breathing exercises and progress to some core and pelvic floor exercises. These are simple movements that can be done, even in the early days and weeks postpartum, to help begin the healing and recovery process. 

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing

a. Begin in a position that is comfortable for you – whether standing, sitting, or lying down

b. Try to clear your mind and relax your entire body

c. Slowly inhale, letting your belly and pelvic floor muscles go, taking in as much air as you can

i. Note here: many women have extremely tight pelvic floor muscles from sporting activities, lifestyle, or constantly sucking in their bellies. Learning to completely relax and let your belly go is an important step!

d. Exhale and gently engage your transverse abdominals and pelvic floor muscles

e. Repeat for 1-2 minutes

2. Transverse Abdominal Contractions

a. Begin in a position that is comfortable for you – whether standing, sitting, or lying down

b. Place your hands on your sides, just above your hips on your transverse abdominals

c. As you exhale, focus on engaging those muscles – feel your hands coming closer together

d. Inhale and let your muscles completely relax

e. Repeat for 1-2 minutes

3. Pelvic Floor Contractions

a. There are 3 different areas of the pelvic floor that you want to connect to, and I’ll advise on how to establish a connection with each

b. Begin in a position that is comfortable for you – whether standing, sitting, or lying down

c. Inhale and focus on completely relaxing your core and pelvic floor muscles

d. As you exhale, try to engage your foremost pelvic floor (PF) muscles by imagining you’re trying to cut off a flow of urine

i. Please note here that I do not recommend doing this when you are actually going to the bathroom as it can mess with your bladder flow! This is purely mental imagery for you to know what muscles to connect to.

e. On your next exhale, imagine trying to suck a blueberry or a marble up through your vagina

i. Don’t make this a forceful contraction – try to make it gentle and smooth. This may not be easy at first, but the more your practice, the better your connection will be!

f. For this last exhale, imagine you’re trying to cut off gas from escaping your anus

g. Try to do this without squeezing your butt cheeks, focus on engaging only your pelvic floor muscles

h. During each of these separate contractions, work on engaging only those muscles involved in the movement, i.e. not squeezing your butt cheeks or overly engaging your abdominals. The more you can connect to the individual muscles, the better your control will be.

If these exercises are new to you, try to carve out 5-10 minutes 2-3 times a day to practice them. Even if you only find time to do them once a day or several times a week, some practice is better than no practice, so do them as often as you can!

Sometimes muscles are too tight – sometimes they are too weak. Learning to be able to feel the difference by relaxing and engaging them will help you be able to control your pelvic floor and core much better as you progress through the recovery process. If you have trouble connecting to these muscles, I highly recommend a visit to a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist, as they can tell you if there are any additional complications or considerations and help you address those. 

And, as a reminder – any woman can…and should…do these! It doesn’t matter if you are in your teens or your 60s, learning proper engagement of your pelvic floor muscles can greatly increase your quality of life! Give these exercises a try today!

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