Part 3 – How can I protect my pelvic floor during Pregnancy, Labour, and Delivery?

In order to answer this question, you need to know how your pelvic floor muscles function.  As indicated in my first blog, this can be addressed in Visit #1.  Once you know your muscle function, specific pelvic floor exercises will be recommended to maintain and promote pelvic floor strength, endurance, coordination, and reactivity of the muscles. The small amounts of research that have been done on pregnancy and urinary incontinence indicate that completing pelvic floor muscle training during pregnancy can reduce incontinence (1). 

Listening to your body and respecting the benefits of recovery are always important and, perhaps even more important during the prenatal season of life.  If your body is giving you clues that certain movements, exercises, or activities feel better than others.  Stick with the ones that feel good and alter or modify the ones that do not feel good.  When you feel tired or fatigued, listen to your body’s cues and provide your body with rest, hydration, and nutrition that helps promote recovery of the tissues.  If you are exhausted, you will only put yourself at greater risk of injuring or weakening muscles by trying to power through your day or push through exercises. 

Visit a physiotherapist around weeks 34-36 of your pregnancy.  Depending on the experience and knowledge of the physiotherapist they may teach you how to stretch the perineum and pelvic floor muscles and offer tips on positioning and techniques for stages 1 and 2 of labor and delivery.  The therapist may also offer you tips on how to care for your pelvic floor during the first 6 weeks postpartum. Postpartum pelvic floor muscle exercises have been shown to reduce urinary incontinence (2) and clinically diaphragmatic breathing can help initiate pelvic floor muscle activity.

If you have never included a pelvic floor physiotherapist in your healthcare team, it might be the next step to helping you recover.

Book Now to see Leona Ham BSc. P.T,  Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist.


  1. Kari Bø, Raul Artal, Ruben Barakat, Wendy Brown, Gregory A L Davies, Michael Dooley, Kelly R Evenson, Lene A H Haakstad, Karin Henriksson-Larsen, Bengt Kayser, Tarja I Kinnunen, Michelle F Mottola, Ingrid Nygaard, Mireille van Poppel, Britt Stuge, Karim M Khan.  Exercise and pregnancy in recreational and elite athletes: 2016 evidence summary from the IOC expert group meeting, Lausanne. Part 1—an exercise in women planning pregnancy and those who are pregnant.  BJSM. 28, April 2016.
  1. Gregory A.L Davies, Larry A. Wolfe, Michelle F. Mottola, Catherine MacKinnon.  Exercise and Pregnancy the Postpartum Period. JOGC.  2003, June; No. 129.