Pregnant women are often told to strengthen their pelvic floor. However, many of us are too busy to often remember to do the exercises that we're told to, even if it does involve a simple clench here and there. Some women sail through pregnancy and beyond with no issues, but others may find that they're prone to some - ahem, leaks - during and after.
According to Metro, having a baby puts a massive strain on your pelvic floor. These muscles support your bladder, uterus, vagina, and bowel - so when it's not working well, things can quickly go awry.
According to fitness trainer Tiffany Hall, keeping your pelvic floor in tip-top shape doesn't have to be taxing. You can do it anywhere, anytime, and your body will thank you later on. Kegels, also known as clenching and squeezing those muscles, as we've previously mentioned, are the most commonly used pelvic floor exercises. Simply contract those muscles down low and hold for five seconds. Hall recommends repeating these ten times, three times a day. Setting an alarm on your phone can help you remember.
Walking hip raises is another great one, says Hall. Start by lying flat on the ground with your hands by your side. Your knees should be bent at a 45-degree angle. Lift your right leg off the ground until your right thigh is vertical and your knee is at a 90-degree angle. Squeeze your glutes and activate your core by pulling your belly button in towards your spine. Next, lift up through your pelvic floor to connect your back through to your front. Repeat on the other side.
Squats are another invaluable trick to keep your pelvic floor in check, while also paying some attention to your glutes. Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart, then drive your hips back as your knees bend.
The form is especially important with squats, so remember to keep your back straight. Pretending that you're going to sit on a chair that isn't there can help you stay in the correct position.
As with any new exercise regime when you're pregnant, check in with your doctor if you have any concerns.