Let’s Get PC About Pregnancy Pilates
In pregnancy pilates, we always focus on the importance of your pelvic floor muscles as well as your abdominal muscles.
The pelvic floor muscles are the foundation for the core of the body. They help stabilize the pelvis, and they support the organs of the lower abdominal cavity, like the bladder and uterus. The pelvic floor muscles, along with the deep muscles of the back and abdomen, form the group of muscles we work when we focus on developing core strength.
You can think of the pelvic floor muscles as a web of interrelated muscles, tendons and ligaments that form a supportive hammock at the base of the pelvic bowl. One of these muscles, the pubococcygeus, also known as the PC muscle, goes around the openings for the urethra, vagina, and anus.
Weak or damaged pelvic floor muscles
When the pelvic floor muscles are weak or damaged, the integrity of these openings can be compromised. Childbirth, chronic coughing, aging, and inactivity are among the causes of weakened or damaged pelvic floor muscles. If the pelvic floor muscles are weak, structural imbalances that lead to abdominal and back pain can occur.
Kegels are most well-known for helping women recover muscle tone after pregnancy. To do this, you squeeze the muscles of the pelvic floor as if you were going to stop the flow of urine when you go to the bathroom. Use stopping the flow of urine a few times to find the muscles you need.
How do you engage the pelvic floor muscle?
The pelvic floor muscles can be hard to feel when you are exercising or moving through daily life. “Engage the pelvic floor” is a common cue in Pilates instruction, but many students are unsure about how to get that to happen. A good image for getting the pelvic floor muscles in on an exercise is to think of drawing a fountain of energy up from the base of the pelvic bowl up through the middle of the body, and out the top of the head. This image helps connect the in and up action with the other core muscles, and an increased awareness of the mid-line of the body.