The Pelvic Floor and Pregnancy

Pregnancy changes the body in obvious and not so obvious ways. The beautiful big belly is what we all think about when we consider the changes pregnancy has on the body, but what we often overlook are all the changes happening to the pelvic floor, to not only support the growing belly, but also for all of the prep work it is doing for the big day.

The pelvis is a basin shaped structure that protects the abdominal organs and the pelvic floor are the muscles that work to support all the organs here. They have a huge job to do during pregnancy. The pelvic floor has to first support the weight of your uterus and growing baby and then has to allow the baby out when the time is right. This is the human body at its best, most intuitive and most beautiful, it can also cause discomfort and pain!

The pelvis normally allows some movement (it’s not a fixed structure, if it was we would all be walking like the Tin Man), but when we’re pregnant we release a hormone called Relaxin that loosens the ligaments and softens the pelvic floor muscles, this changes theway our bodies more.

All these changes can affect balance, said by someone who fell three times when pregnant! Add to this, loosening of the ligaments, the changing shape of the pelvis and the extra load of a rapidly growing baby, pregnancy can cause pain in the pelvis area that can be excruciating, particularly when walking.

Pain is not limited to the pelvis area though, the changing shape of the pelvic girdle can also put stress on other ligaments that it supports and this change of load and extra stress that is placed elsewhere in the body can cause ligamental, muscular even joint pain around the lower back.

Because of all of the changes that the pelvis goes through, the pelvic floor muscles have a lot of work to do both during pregnancy and after. The pelvic floor muscles have a bigger load to support and so work extra hard during pregnancy, but the hormones we release during pregnancy also soften the muscles to allow our little ones to make their entrance.

The pelvic floor is absolutely incredible, after all of this it then returns back to normal… well almost… sometimes.

It’s not unusual for women to have problems with their pelvic floor post pregnancy, actually it’s very common. It’s important to get help and there are amazing Women’s Physios who are able to help get you back on track. Respect the pelvic floor, it’s pretty amazing.

There are two fantastic physios with a female focus we recommend;

The Physiotherapy Clinic with clinics in Bondi Junction, Cammeray, Woolooware and Byron Bay

Women in Focus with clinics in Bondi Junction and Miranda

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