Over the years during birth I have seen women with such tight pelvic floors that their body won’t open to release their baby. I asked my friend and go to girl Allison Oswald for some things moms to be can do to get their pelvic floor ready for birth. Allison is my go to when it comes to pregnancy, birth and new mom pelvic floor and core work . She a master in her field and I always highly recommend her to all that need!
A true visionary in the realm of women’s health, Allison Oswald, PT, DPT, WCS, CPT had the foresight to focus on an area of wellness, which until recently was not as widely known among our culture, and often underappreciated. While attending school to become a board certified doctor of physical therapy, Allison discovered a passion for working with women by focusing on the core as a pivotal point for well-being. Through her studies, she recognized a major gap in treatment existed, specifically related to women and women’s health issues. This propelled her to become a board certified women’s health practitioner.
As a mother herself, Allison finds her passion in working with women who are in their childbearing years and postnatally, as she knows first hand, this area of health can be challenging without the proper support. The physicality of conception and fertility is only one factor. A successful pregnancy and ultimately a healthy postpartum recovery, comes partially from a good connection to the pelvic core. Pregnancy is its own physical feat, but becoming a mother introduces another level of strength for which most women are not conditioned.
Allison sees patients in person at her studio, Plumb Line Pilates & Physical Therapy located in Santa Monica, CA. She created Plumb Line studio as a space where patients and clients alike could come to heal, be inspired, feel connected and move. Besides Women’s Health Physical Therapy, Plumb Line studio offers Pilates, pre/post natal Pilates, small group classes, reiki healing, manual lymphatic treatment, structural integration and microcurrent facials – a true whole wellness collective.
Working with women in and around pregnancy is Allison’s true passion. Empowering women with knowledge to connect deeper to their bodies and their inner strength during this time is so effective. “Connecting to the pelvic floor during pregnancy is especially important. However connecting does not mean just strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, but rather, being able to both contract and relax them. In my practice I see a lot of women who need the most support when learning to let go of their pelvic floor muscles as they prepare for labor and delivery. Especially if they participate in higher intensity exercises that require a lot of tension around their pelvis, without also elongating this area. This tightness can limit the progression of labor since the lengthening of the pelvic floor muscles is what is needed for a vaginal birth.
Therefore with my clients, around week 32-34 of pregnancy, we begin doing movements and stretches to promote pelvic floor lengthening. Here are a few of my favorites below. Keep in mind that none of them should cause pain or discomfort, and if you are experiencing any type of pelvic girdle dysfunction, work with a physical therapist to modify as needed to not exacerbate your symptoms. But if you are symptom free, then you can do these every day leading up to your delivery.”
5 PELVIC FLOOR LENGTHENING EXERCISES TO PREPARE FOR LABOR AND DELIVERY:
- Pelvic Floor Lengthening on Small Ball: Kneelingontopofasmallball,stackingyour ribcage over your spine, inhale through your nose allowing and feeling the pelvic floor
muscles to descend down. Exhale (relaxed jaw) and keep the pelvic floor muscles lengthened and open. Keep the hips and abdomen relaxed the entire time. Do this for 5 minutes.
- Hip Circles on Large Exercise Ball: Sitting on top of a large exercise ball. Spread your butt cheeks so that the pelvic floor is connected to the ball. Keep your feet planted and circle your hips 10-15 times in each direction while inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth (jaw relaxed). Keep your hips and pelvis relaxed.
- Hands/KneesHipCircles: Get on your hands and knees allowing your belly to relax and a small arch to occur in your low back. Circle your hips back and around 10 times in one direction and then switch. As you go back, try not to round your back, but rather keep your tailbone reaching long to open up your pelvic floor. Continuously breathing (jaw relaxed) and letting go of your hips and pelvis.
- Single Leg Lunge: On a softer surface, come down on one knee and the other foot in front of you with your knee bent. Both knees should be turned out slightly and use a wall or stable piece of furniture for balance. Gently lunge forward and backward 10-15 times, breathing (jaw relaxed) and letting go the entire time. Repeat on the other side.
- Deep Squat Supported (on meditation pillow or bolster): Start with your feet wide and turned out. Lower yourself down onto a pillow/bolster/seat as low as you can go while still keeping a slight arch in your lower back. Once here, hinge your upper torso forward slightly to whatever is comfortable. You should feel a gentle stretch in your inner thighs. Breath in through your nose allowing the pelvic floor to lengthen, exhale through your mouth (jaw relaxed) as you keep the pelvic floor relaxed and lengthened. Stay here breathing for 3-5 minutes.
For more on ALLISON OSWALD:
● Website: www.allisonoswald.com ● Instagram: @allisonoswald
PLUMB LINE PILATES & PHYSICAL THERAPY
● Website: www.plumblinewellness.com ● Instagram: @plumblinestudio