46
MIDPREGNANCY
The interwoven pelvic floor muscles link the base of your spine with
the front of your pelvis. Their tone and elasticity contribute to
posture, inner strength, and the healthy functioning of organs in your
lower abdomen. Gaining control of these muscles with breath and
focused awareness is vital in pregnancy. When neither too loose nor
too tight, the muscles support the birth canal and enable it to recover
optimal tone after birth. Throughout pregnancy, frequent practices
for a few minutes daily in a relaxed atmosphere are most effective.
PELVIC FLOOR STRETCHES
BENEFITS AND
CAUTION
These yoga stretches with deep
breathing help you to:
Feel in control of your body and
reduce anxieties about giving birth.
Enhance your sex life.
Give birth to your baby without
distress by relying on the power
of your breathing.
Prevent or relieve hemorrhoids.
If you have low blood pressure,
support your head in the pelvic
floor inner stretch.
A head-down kneeling position helps you tone the
three openings of your pelvic floor. First, tighten and
release your anal sphincter, breathing freely. This gets
easier with practice. The more you tighten, the more
you can release and vice versa, gradually extending
your action. Now focus on the urethra sphincter
(which controls urine flow), right under your pubic
bone. Tighten and open it with rapid, tiny moves; this
may feel ticklish. Finally, focus on your vagina. As you
exhale, draw in the powerful muscles around it, then
release, inhale, and repeat a few times. Make this a
daily practice.
Tighten and relax
your pelvic floor
muscles as opposed
to just lifting and
“squeezing” them
mechanically
Distribute your weight
evenly through your
knees and elbows,
and lift your shoulders
Raise your tailbone
as high as possible
PELVIC FLOOR INNER STRETCH
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47
PELVIC FLOOR STRETCHES
Sit upright on a beanbag or chair, knees apart and back
supported, using a cushion if needed. Place your hands
on your lower abdomen. With focused breath, tighten
and release the central part of your pelvic floor. Inhale,
then draw the muscles inward as you exhale slowly,
engaging your lower abdominal muscles. With practice,
you will feel the alternate toning and release of your
pelvic floor in synchrony with your diaphragm. Use
these inner stretches daily to promote the elasticity
of your pelvic floor and prevent tightness.
SEATED PELVIC FLOOR STRETCH
Place your hands
on your lower
abdomen
Relax your
facial muscles
Pull your shoulders
back to breathe
deeply in your chest
Sacrum
Bladder
Rectum
Uterus
Coccyx
(tailbone)
Position of
well-toned
pelvic floor
CROSS SECTION AT 32 WEEKS
THE PERINEUM
Position
of sagging
pelvic floor
PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES
The hammock of muscles at the base
of your torso supports the uterus, the
intestines, and the bladder, and serves to
close the entrances to the vagina, rectum,
and urethra. During pregnancy, an increase
in progesterone causes the pelvic floor
muscles to soften and relax.
Ring of muscle
around anus
Ring of muscle
around the urethra
Pubic bone
Ring of muscle
deep in vagina
and urethra
US_046-047_Chapter2.indd 47 06/07/2020 12:25
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