I have a pregnancy class that I teach and I am unsure which position I should teach the pelvic floor lift and holds?
I would recommend your clients perform the pelvic floor lift and holds and quick flicks in a seated position. Coach them to find their “tripod” first and then perform the exercise. This is easiest on a Swiss ball but can be performed sitting anywhere once they master it. The sitting and standing positions are far more functional, as well as being more advanced. Teach the supine version to help them feel the muscles they are drawing up and then progress to sitting and standing contractions. No matter what trimester they are in, they will be okay on their back for short periods of time if this is the only position they feel they can get a strong pelvic floor contraction.
Also, the women I teach seem to take a breath in when they elevate their pelvic floor. Is this okay?
The tendency will be to breathe in as they draw the pelvic floor up and this is okay as long as they are continuing with a regular breathing pattern for the length of the hold. They are actually teaching themselves to expand their rib cage and chest by doing this, which is a positive. Anyone who is seeing expansion of their belly when breathing in is on the wrong track because this actually forces their pelvic floor down.
First of all, thank you so much for the DVD and website! I had a similar experience to you of having prolapse soon after my baby was born 2 years ago, but it was such a challenge to get a diagnosis and find resources to help me so thank you!! I’m replying to this post, not because I’m pregnant, but because I’d like to hear more about the correct breathing technique. I haven’t seen my PT in a while and she was treating me for other issues as well (diastasis recti and back issues predating pregnancy) but it was my understanding it was good to take deep full breaths and to bring the belly button to the spine on exhales. This implies belly expansion on the inhales to me and I was curious on your take on this.
Also, are all the exercises on the DVD safe for diastasis recti? (It seems like they would be especially if you recommend them beginning immediately postpartum but I thought I’d check.) Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience!!
Great questions! These exercises are absolutely safe for your diastasis recti and will also help your back pain if it is still with you. This is because of the focus on pelvic basket strengthening as well as an emphasis on a posture that allows maximum blood flow and decreased compression forces.
As for your breathing pattern. You are right on with the technique to exhale by drawing your belly button in. This actually happens naturally as your transversus abdominus contracts on final exhalation and helps to squeeze that last bit of air up and out. You can feel this easily with a forced exhale as you work to get all the air out. Your belly will draw in tight to assist this force. BUT this does not mean that you have to return to full belly expansion on inhalation. If you hold good posture, your chest will lift on inhalation and your lower ribs will expand to accomodate your lung expansion. Your belly will relax a bit but it does not need to take on all the pressure.
Hope this is all clear.