We are going to debunk 5 common myths about pregnancy and exercise. Before we get into the myths, we just want to say that exercise is not a one-side fits all thing when it comes to pregnancy. There is no perfect way to exercise for every person. Another thing is that you want to make sure you consult with your physician or OB/GYN before you start in any exercise program or if you are current exerciser and pregnant.
Research has shown that women who exercise on a regular basis during pregnancy have shorter labors and have less complications. They also have better postpartum outcomes. So there’s a lot of benefits to strength training and exercise while you are pregnant, but to ensure your safety and the safety of your baby, check with your physician first.
Myth #1: lifting weights is dangerous for you and your baby.
That is simply not true. There is no upper limit of how much weight you can lift when your pregnant. However, the thing that would change the amount you can lift is any precautions stated by your physician or OB/GYN. If you are lifting weights before pregnancy, you can continue to lift weights during pregnancy as long as it is safe and deemed appropriate by your doctor. Might you need to adjust how heavy you lift or the ways you lift throughout your pregnancy? You bet! So long as you feel good as you lift and you are moving your body safely, keep on lifting!
Myth #2: you will increase your risk of injury if you exercise while pregnant.
Properly done exercises can actually prevent issues, like aches and pain, from coming up throughout pregnancy. It’s essential to keep your body strong and stable when you’re pregnant. Your body is changing and adapting all throughout pregnancy and it’s important to exercise in order to support all of these amazing changes.
Some of the things to avoid is any exercises or movement that causes pain. If you are in pain, it’s probably not the right type of exercise for you at this time. If you are exercising and you leak urine or you leak stool, you should avoid or change that exercise. If your belly bulges out or pushes out, rather than pulls in, it’s time to modify your exercise. If you are feeling heavy in the vaginal or perineal area, you might want modify the way you are exercising or avoid that particular movement.
With any type of exercise during pregnancy, listen to your body. Don’t push it. And if you are having symptoms, it is time to adjust what you are doing.
Myth #3: you should only walk or do prenatal yoga.
If you love to walk or love to do yoga, awesome! Do those things! If you don’t love to walk or you don’t enjoy yoga, do something different. There is no one best way to exercise during pregnancy.. You need to do what feels good in your body. So just like we said before, if you feeling any of those negative symptoms, maybe you need to change and modify what you are doing. If you feel good, keep it up!
You might also find with every stage of pregnancy, you are modifying or adapting how you exercise or picking a completely new way of exercising-- and that’s okay. As you listening to your body, you may find that you have to adapt and change overtime. As long as you're keeping active and listening to your body, that’s what matters most.
Myth #4: avoid laying on your back to exercise.
A small amount of time on your back is safe so long as you’re not feeling dizzy, uncomfortable, short of breath, or in pain. If you’re feeling any of those symptoms, exercises on your back are not recommended. However, if you are able to lie on your back comfortably, those exercises should be brief and you should not add a lot of weight or extra load to your body in a laying down position. If you’re not comfortable, simply pick different positions to exercise in.
Another thing you might try is to wedge yourself up on an angle. If you are lying on your back and you do not feel well, but you still want to do an exercise lying on your back, prop your head and back up on pillows. See if angling yourself up a bit helps you feel more comfortable. Otherwise, just avoid laying down exercise entirely if you are having symptoms.
Myth #5: if you’ve never strength trained before pregnancy, you can’t start.
This is most certainly not true. Even if you haven’t exercised or strength trained before, you can start strength training while you are pregnant. You are best to start into strength training at a very gradual phase using very little to no added load or weight. Body weight exercises are great place to start with exercises like squats, lunges, or wall push ups. Resistance bands are another fantastic way of strength training without adding too much load to your body.
At Legacy Physical Therapy we love to teach our clients who are pregnant ways that they can move, strength train, and feel good in their bodies, even for those who have never exercised before. It’s always best to talk to a trained women’s health Physical Therapist so they can guide you to know what types of exercises are going to be best and safest for you.
You should feel good about the exercise that you are doing when you are pregnant and your body should also feel good
Today we are going to debunk some myths that you may have heard about toileting! Yes, that is right we are going to be talking all things toilet habits today. Read on to find out how many of the 5 Myths about toileting you thought were true.
Do you leak when you sneeze? If so, I may have an answer for you. Have you ever walked outside on the sunny day, immediately sneeze then unfortunately, felt a drip of urine onto your underwear?? If so, you’re not alone. This “stress” type incontinence is very common, but NOT normal.
I want to teach you a simple technique that you can do today to try and stop that kind of leakage from happening. This technique is called “The Knack.”
To get the most success out of the “The Knack,” you want to try to do this when you have warning that a sneeze is going to happen. What you do is stop in place (stand still) and try and contract to the pelvic floor muscles (a.k.a. kegel) before you sneeze. The pelvic floor muscles are located at the bottom of our pelvis. When you contract these muscles, think as if you’re trying to hold back gas or hold back pee. You should feel a squeezing sensation in the vagina and anus.
To review, if you have warning that a sneeze is coming, stop where you at, try and pre-contract your pelvic floor muscles, and brace for that sneeze to come. “The Knack” can also help reduce or eliminate leakage when you cough, laugh, or blow your nose.
So, that’s it! Go and try it. Hopefully this helps you control your bladder when you sneeze. If not, we are happy to be a resource for you at Legacy Physical Therapy. In fact, check out our free guide on Bladder Leakage for more tips.
Pelvic organ prolapse is a dropping of any of the pelvic organs (uterus, bladder, or rectum) down into vaginal canal or through the vaginal opening. You can have prolapse of one or multiple pelvic organs at a time.
There are multiple treatment options available if you are experiencing pelvic organ prolapse
Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse usually present as a feeling of pressure, heaviness, or feeling of something falling out around the vaginal area. Other symptoms can include pain in the vaginal or pelvic region, urinary issues such as leakage, unable to empty your bladder, or urgency, or bowel trouble such as constipation. If you want more information on the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse check out our Blog Post: What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Seeking medical help for pelvic organ prolapse does not mean that you have to commit to surgery. All women can benefit from conservative treatment options like physical therapy to help with their prolapse symptoms, and potentially only to go on the surgery if those symptoms for prolapse don’t get under control with the conservative treatment options. Treatment options for prolapse depend on what your individual problem is and the symptoms that you are experiencing.
Treatment for prolapse should be there to help you improve your quality of life and get you doing the activities that you want to be doing. Therefore, the type of treatment options should be recommended based on your goals. With most pelvic organ prolapse, you have conservative and non-surgical treatment options-- not all prolapses require invasive treatments. So depending on if the prolapse is causing you any discomfort or interfering things that you enjoy, your doctor may suggest that you hold off on treatment or not. We believe that no matter if you have an asymptomatic prolapse, it is still a good idea to work with the pelvic physical therapist for even a visit or two to sure that you stay symptom-free.
So, what can you do for conservative management if you have a symptomatic prolapse?
The first thing you can do is adjust your physical activities so that your not straining or placing stress down through the pelvis. Now, we always want women to be as active as they can be comfortably, but sometimes we have to adjust what they are doing exercise-wise or how they’re doing the exercise to make sure that it is still appropriate and not putting too much pressure down through the pelvic area. This is again where partnering with a pelvic physical therapist could be very helpful to make sure that you are making the appropriate adjustments.
Another thing you can do is stop smoking if you are a smoker. Smoking causes damage to tissue throughout our body. When you are trying to heal a pelvic organ prolapse, you want the healthiest quality tissue possible.
Avoid constipation. Being constipated causes a lot of extra strain and pressure in the pelvic area and onto the pelvic organs. Dietary changes, the addition of fiber, and drinking plenty of water can help your bowel stay soft. If you need more help in this area, speak with your physician about ways that might work best for you.
Be sure you are at or working towards being a healthy weight. Carrying extra body weight will add extra strain and pressure through the pelvic cavity and onto your prolapse. If you are struggling with losing weight, we recommend speaking with your physician about what weight loss programs are best suited for you. Pelvic physical therapists can also help guide what exercises or exercise programs would be safest for you.
Another thing that you can do is potentially get fitted for a vaginal device called “pessary”. A pessary provides support for the vaginal canal to keep the prolapse in a position closer to where it should be. A pessary can be a great conservative option, for women of all ages, who don’t want surgery, who aren’t good surgical candidates, who want to be active or working out the way that they want, or a simply be able to take care of kids the way that they want to be without having symptoms as their doing their day to day activities.
There are many different types of them and you need to be fitted for one that’s going to work well for you. We recommend, that if you are dealing with pelvic organ prolapse, to talk about this with your gynecologist. You can also seek an assessment by a urogynecologist that focuses on treating pelvic organ prolapse. Partnering with your gynecologist or a urogynecologist to talk about your prolapse symptoms and potentially the use of a pessary would be a great idea.
Another conservative treatment option which we’ve already mentioned above is pelvic physical therapy. At Legacy Physical Therapy we have helped a substantial number of women with pelvic organ prolapse. Many times we can help get women symptom-free without any type of surgery or medication simply by retraining or modifying activity, strengthening their pelvic support muscles, and teaching them ways to move so that they’re not placing too much pressure down to the pelvic area. We highly recommend partnering up with the Pelvic Physical Therapist to make sure that you are addressing your prolapse symptoms appropriately and safely.
We highly recommend women with pelvic organ prolapse explore conservative treatment options before jumping into a surgical repair. We also know that in some cases, conservative management might only help to a certain point. Depending on the severity on the symptoms and your general health, pelvic organ prolapse surgery may be recommended in the end. Regardless, starting with conservative management and working with a pelvic physical therapist can definitely be of help.
"We help women who are tired of leaking, dealing with pelvic pain, and wanting to get their body back in shape after baby (even if it’s been 30 years) all without relying on medications or surgery."