pilates for pelvic floor

Can Pilates strengthen the pelvic floor?

pilates for pelvic floor
Pilates exercises can be tailored to suit mums from the very Early Days postnatal

Yes!

IF you already know how to work your pelvic floor effectively, then YES! Definitely, Pilates can help strengthen the pelvic floor & teach you to use it in a functional way.   Many specialist antentatal & postnatal physiotherapists are also experienced Pilates Instructors. Exercise is a key pillar of our physio training and Pilates has proven to be a style of exercise to really suit mums’ needs. Chosen carefully, some exercises can be started from the early days, even after a caesarean.

I am such a Pilates enthusiast that have made a series of postnatal exercise videos taking you from “birth to 6 weeks”, via abs & gluts focus sequences to getting ready to run. With Pilates for Pelvic Floor Strengthening to really target this most elusive bit! Join me here….

And no….

NOT if your pelvic floor muscles are very weak. Or even completely ‘switched off’. That’s when you do have perfectly good muscles but your brain is not telling them to work. Maybe because of some nerve problems since your delivery. Rather like having windscreen wipers but no button to switch them on in the rain. Or working too hard. Sometimes you are subconciously over-gripping since you had your baby. Perhaps still tense around an episiotomy scar or going into spasm when you sit or walk too long?

tabletop & head lifts are classic Pilates exercises that need to be done with EXCELLENT technique to avoid abdominal doming or pelvic floor strain.

If your inside pelvic floor muscles are not ready (even if your outside seems fine), then unfortunatley, you could do an entire Pilates class with relatively little benefit. Some times things get worse:

  • you might feel more sore in your pelvis after a class than before.
  • it’s easy to accidentally bear down and stretch & weaken them more
  • or not reaslie that you have too much pressure on your bladder or uterus inside, encouraging a prolapse to appear as you exercise more.

Not sure what’s going on inside?

If you have any worries that your pelvic floor is not quite what it should be, or want to return to a high level of sport or fitness, get your technique checked before you do too much more DIY.


Ask your midwife or GP to refer you to a Specialist Physiotherapist. They will examine you and properly advise on your personal situation.

Why see a specialist physio?

There is so much a specialist pelvic floor physiotherapist can teach you to improve internal muscle strength, endurance & co-ordination. They will also check your posture, tummy gap, core strength & scars.

 Through post-graduate training, we have the skill to properly assess and examine the pelvic floor muscles with a vaginal examination.  We do this in a kind and gentle way putting you as much at ease as we can.

We aim to help you understand how your body works.  With a better understanding of your muscles’ strength, weakness or tension problems, your exercises will make sense & be motivating. We can show you how to help them to grow stronger or release & stretch. As well as how to be skilled at using them, to prevent incontinence and improve internal organ support! 

It’s not just up/down squeezes!  

We have lots of different ways of exercising. The standard post-birth exercises are great – but they are not the end of the story. See some new ideas in our Pelvic Floor School. To encourage proper muscle activation we have tricks & tips. We have more advanced and interesting exercises to get you back to higher level sport. Even great gadgets that can show you what you are doing and enhance your muscle work.  

How to get support?

Ask your GP to refer you to the local NHS services (if you are Cambridge-based you can self-refer). Or do come to see me at my practice South Cambridge Physiotherapy or arrange a virtual appointment.  

Not near Cambridge? I believe finding a local physio is best for your longer term support. Women have a long journey from motherhood to menopause. Visit www.themummymot.com for a national directory of physios who specialise in caring for postnatal mums.

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