Squatting for Pelvic Floor Health

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Squatting (as you would when going to the toilet when camping – not at the gym with weights) helps to maintain pelvic floor function by creating a gentle stretch or lengthening of the pelvic floor muscles.

Once an activity that would have been performed many times throughout the day (not just for toileting but also as a resting position in the absence of chairs or furniture) this very natural movement has disappeared almost completely from our Westernized culture.

Frequent deep squatting throughout the day helps to restore pelvic floor health and prepare for childbirth by:

  • Creating space in the pelvic outlet (obstetric outlet) through maintaining the supple length of the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Maintaining symmetrical hip, knee and ankle mobility.
  • Building strength as you use the gluteal muscles (which support the pelvic structures) to lower down and stand back up.

Unfortunately most of us do not currently have the strength or mobility in our joints to be able to get into a deep squat straight away. Furthermore if you already have some pelvic floor issues or limited joint mobility you may be causing more harm than good by jumping straight into deep or frequent squats every day.

The following squat prep exercise, as taught by Katy Bowman M.S., can be used to work up to a full squat. By simply doing the exercise below, you will get a lot of the same benefits that squats produce.

Hands and Knees Squat – This allows you to find the squat position in an unloaded position first. It is safe to do with pre-existing pelvic floor issues and during pregnancy and the early postpartum phase so long as you feel comfortable doing it.

1. Start on hands and knees and tuck your toes under if able. (You can have some padding under your knees if it is more comfortable)

2. Let your spine relax down and your pelvis UNtuck (tailbone to the ceiling)

3. Keep the tailbone untucked and begin to back your hips up toward your feet

4. Only go as far as possible until you feel the pelvis start to tuck under. Your spine should not round or flatten.

5. Rest down on to elbows and hold for 2-3 minutes as comfortable. 1-2 (or more) times a day would be great!

This can be a great position to read a book in, or to have some fun face-to-face time with a new baby in.

Samantha Cattach – Arrivals Physiotherapist

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