Perinatal yoga practice covers the broad journey from fertility, pregnancy and postpartum. This is a stage of your life where you tend to focus even more on your own health and wellbeing in order to conceive, carry your baby and birth your baby. Yoga Mama has been assisting moms for over 12 years providing perinatal yoga classes in Johannesburg, South Africa and online.
Today we are talking all about pelvic floor and why it is important in fertility, pregnancy and postpartum. So to start, what is your pelvic floor?
Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles found in the base of your pelvis and is the foundation of your bladder, uterus and rectum. Besides your abdominal wall, your pelvic floor is the most affected muscle group during pregnancy. When your pelvic floor is weak you are more likely to experience pelvic pain during your pregnancy and slower recovery time after birth.
During fertility yoga we work on the pelvic floor and focus a lot of attention into circulation in the pelvic area in order for the process of conception to happen faster and easier. You also build your pelvic floor health in preparation for pregnancy and we have seen women who practice fertility yoga have easier pregnancies and births.
Now let's take it back to my personal experience as a mother. With my first born I worked in corporate and movement was the last thing I was concerned about. I was more focussed on getting my mind prepped for birth and getting ready for baby with the "consumables" like strollers, car seats and cots. After birth I had diastasis recti and I was not one of the moms that healed naturally. I now have the knowledge that 100% of women have this in their pregnancies but only 80% heal from it naturally with no interventions.
My birth of my first born son was really an awakening experience for me into doing this work that I do now, and needless to say my experience with my second son was 10000000 times better because I started training as a perinatal worker that I am now.
Here are some things I have come to know through my own pregnancies about pelvic floor, yoga and movement:
Starting yoga in my second pregnancy was a game changer for me not only in my experience of body changes during pregnancy but also a faster birth.
The suppleness of your body and the strength of your pelvic floor plays a big role in how your body adapts to the changes that pregnancy brings.
Seeing my belly for the first time after my first birth and then seeing that its harder to get my flat tummy back after months post birth was very hard for me even though I tried very hard to pretend that it didn't matter because I had my little boy. Truth is, it did matter and it was hard on my emotions and my self image.
Then after a year post birth I joined yoga again after now almost 18 months of no yoga and movement and I found strength again and appreciation for my postpartum body.
Yoga is much more than fancy headstands and "Om". Perinatal yoga not only strengthened my body as a mother but it also boosted my mood and my confidence in my body's abilities.
Some of you may be thinking, "Is it too late to start now?" and the answer is no. It is never too late to start yoga (or too early for that matter).
I am now journeying through my third pregnancy and will be sharing more of my personal experiences with you all through this blog.
All my love, Tara