Updated: Jan 8
Proper breathing is essential to maintain a good pelvic floor which can help both mama and babe. You’re probably thinking, breathing is something we do all the time so it’s easy – but for optimal strength of your pelvic floor you may need these tips!
Having a strong pelvic floor can also assist during labor, as well as help prevent urinary issues after pregnancy.
When you breathe in, your ribs expand and diaphragm flattens, lowers and moves your organs down. Your pelvic floor and abdominal expand to make room for your organs. When you breathe out, your diaphragm lifts and your pelvic floor and abs contract and shorten, returning to their resting position.
If you often take shallow breaths, wear clothes that restrict your breathing or suck in your stomach, these can all effect your pelvic floor.
Tips to improve your breathing
Breathe through your nose
Every breath you take should go in and out through the nose. Your nose filters the air coming in to be used by your body as efficiently as possible. While you’re breathing through your nose, gently relax your tongue and rest it on the bottom of your mouth.
Breathe with your diaphragm
The air you breathe in through your nose should go all the way down into your belly. 60 to 80% of the inhaling should be done by the diaphragm so that your breathing is nice and deep.
Your diaphragm is a muscle that needs to be trained to work its best! Just like working on a specific muscle at the gym, you shouldn’t do this all day every day. Always check in with your body and make note if it's only your chest moving or if your diaphragm is doing most of the work, this can help to improve your breath and pelvic floor.
Here are three things you can do while practicing breathing exercises:
1. It is important to keep breathing during pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises and to not hold your breath. It is sometimes hard to avoid, especially when you are holding for 6 to 8 seconds but you can do it! Many people find it helps to count out loud or speak during the hold.
2. Take a diaphragm breath in, then exhale and contract the pelvic floor muscles during the exhale. Coughing, sneezing, and laughing are things your body does when you’re exhaling and it is important to learn how to contract the pelvic floor muscle when you’re doing these activities to avoid extra pressure on your stomach. Practice this until you can perform the pelvic floor muscle contract on the exhale easily and naturally.
3. Specific sounds seem to make the pelvic floor muscle exercises harder or easier. There is not a specific order and each person experiences a different result. If you want to make the exercises harder try contracting the pelvic floor muscle while making the sound “ssss” like you’re a snake! There is no time assigned to this exercise, just exhale naturally. Try for 3 to 4 seconds, and you'll be doing great!
Hopefully, these tips helped you. We learn about this and a lot more in my Mama Hive Yoga program; especially for pre and postnatal mamas.