We’ve got a guest blogger this week! The lovely Annelize van Staden is a personal trainer and fitness instructor from Class Fit who runs a variety of specialised fitness classes in Gloucester and Cheltenham, including One Fit Mama. One Fit Mama circuit training classes are designed to help new mums get back to fitness without having to arrange childcare – babies and toddlers can come too!
Did you know that a third of all women experience a problem with their pelvic floor muscles at some time during their life? The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for supporting and protecting the pelvic organs (the bladder, bowel and womb) and, like any other muscle in the body, can become weak. Pregnancy and childbirth, in particular, place a huge amount of strain on the pelvic floor, reducing the natural tension that prevents the passing of urine, bowel and gas motions. A weak pelvic floor can also lead to pelvic organ prolapse.
Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction can include:
- Urgency to use the toilet
- Going to the toilet too frequently
- Getting up in the night to go to the toilet
- Bowel leakage with activity or urge
- Leakage of wind
- A feeling of something coming down or heaviness
- Vaginal or abdominal pain
- Lack of sensation during sex.
Pelvic floor issues are common, but they are not normal and you certainly don’t have to suffer in silence! The pelvic floor can be strengthened with some simple exercises. Take a look at this NHS leaflet and the following video to learn more:
Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can help stop incontinence, treat prolapse, and make sex better, too!
NHS Choices, 2017
Another common affliction to occur during pregnancy and the postnatal period is diastasis recti, which is the separation and weakening of the abdominal muscles and sheath. This is particularly common in women who have had larger babies, multiple births or continued with an unsafe abdominal fitness programme during pregnancy or soon after giving birth.
There are several signs that diastasis recti has occurred including back pain and incontinence however the most common and only visible sign is what is known as ‘doming’. This is often mistakenly described as ‘mummy tummy’ and is where the abdominal muscle form a dome or peak. You can also feel a gap between your abdominal muscles just above or below the belly button. The gap is classed as diastasis recti if the gap is larger than two fingers. If you suspect you might suffer with diastasis recti, or even a smaller gap, then there are several modifications to be made in relation to abdominal exercise; for example, sit ups and crunches should be completely avoided.
One Fit Core classes are specifically designed by a leading physiotherapist to improve your pelvic floor and core strength and provide you with the information you need to safely exercise after pregnancy.
Find out about this and more of Annelize’s classes at http://class-fit.co.uk/.