Able Body, Stable Mind, Noble Soul
Birthing is considered a second birth for the mother – the ravages her body endures to deliver the new life is probably the most miraculous part of living. In the process, even with scientific pre-natal and post-natal care and exercise, the woman is a lot more vulnerable to succumb to certain frailties associating with her biological womanhood.
Weak pelvic muscles can cause many a heart ache in women – urine leakage (urinary incontinence), bowel gas or stool leakage (anal incontinence), difficulty emptying bladder (voiding dysfunction), overactive bladder, or difficulty having a bowel movement (constipation). Some women also feel or see tissue coming out of the opening of their vagina. This can be a prolapsing cervix and uterus or the walls of the vagina.
The very core of your body is the pelvis, at its very base are the pelvic floor muscles that run from the pubic bone in front to the tailbone in back. They pelvic floor muscles provide support to the internal organs – the bladder, bowel, uterus (prostrate for men), vagina and rectum. Not only does the pelvic floor prevent these organs from falling down or out, but it also plays a very important role in making the organs function properly. The brain controls the muscles of the pelvic floor by way of nerves. Women who’ve stretched their pelvic-floor muscles during childbirth are the most susceptible to pelvic floor disorders, especially if they had a large baby or pushed for two or more hours. One third of women with ‘stress urinary disorder’ also have overactive bladder, a debilitating condition in which you suddenly have a strong urge to pee or your bladder muscle spontaneously contracts, sending a wave of urine into your pants.
Other helpful muscles in the same region are the Transversus abdominis (TVA) and the multifidus muscles that run along the lower to middle spine. These three muscle groups – the pelvic floor (bottom), the TA (front) and the multifidus (back) – form the Pelvic Pyramid. These muscles need to be exercised and worked in unison to enhance your quality of life, improve posture, flatten your tummy and keep your bladder control healthy. Learning exercises and performing them correctly and consistently will ensure the safety and health of the birthing process and the aging process after delivery.
EXERCISE THE PELVIC FLOOR:
Doing a Kegel exercise can help prevent pelvic disorder and help strengthen those muscle for those who already suffer from it.
Imagine you are trying to pee. Those are the muscles, you need to work on. Lie on your side with your hips and knees flexed to about 90 degrees. Squeeze for 10 seconds and then relax for ten seconds. Do three sets of ten contractions a day to begin with. Once you have got the hang of which muscles you are targeting, focus on feeling a squeeze which builds to a lifting sensation. Try maintaining a uniform rhythm for the squeeze-relax pattern. You can work it up to 15 contractions of 15 seconds each.
ACTIVATE YOUR TA
Let us first identify our TA. Lie on your back with your knees and hips flexed. Slowly let your right knee move to the right, keep your low back and pelvis level. Return to the center and repeat with the left. Lift the right foot off the floor keeping the knee bent. Don’t hold your breath and don’t bulge your lower abdomen. Return the foot to the floor and repeat with the left foot.
Lift the right foot off the floor and then straighten the leg only as far as you can control your core with a proper strategy. Slowly bend the knee and return the foot to the floor. Repeat with the left leg.
Lift the right foot off the floor and then the left foot off the floor. Alternate leg extensions, exert with exhalation, breathe in to rest or hold.
Once you know how to recruit those muscles you can activate them at anytime.
STRENGTHEN YOUR MULTIFIDUS
A alternate superman is the perfect exercise to strengthen your multifidus and lower back. Get on the floor on all fours
By Gita Krishna Raj printed in Food & Health magazine in June 2014.