You want to know something really personal about me? I carry a lot of tension in my pelvic floor muscles.
Everytime I'm starting a conversation with a stranger, bam, my pelvic floor muscles go tense.
Everytime I get a little self-conscious, bam, my pelvic floor muscles go tense.
Everytime I have a negative thought, bam, my pelvic floor muscles go tense.
I know they go tense, because I can relax them again. And that is what I do 357 times a day.
Except now I'm pregnant (19 weeks now) and my pelvic floor must think that my growing baby is heavier than it really is because it tenses up more than ever. Now I have to think of relaxing it about 679 times a day. Seriously.
I guess the good news is that I even notice. The bad news is that a tense pelvic floor muscle is a tight pelvic floor muscle. And a tight pelvic floor muscle isn't very good at generating force. It is a darn weak muscle. And, Iet me tell you: I've noticed that weakness once in the last 8 weeks (only once, or maybe twice?) when I sneezed. You know what I mean. That is really bad news! Intervention time!
I remembered that the muscles in the jaw are connected to the muscles in the pelvic floor. Pelvicfloor physiotherapists know about this and I read it in Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Natural Childbirth when she talks about the open mouth - open cervix phenonomen. Check out Ina May speaking here (you have to scroll to the bottom)
Just place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, then on top of your molars and notice what happens to your pelvic floor. I feel a subtle tingle initially and the muscles relax. So I spent a full day with my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth - and it worked.
But I cannot constantly play around with my tongue only to cue my pelvic floor to chill out.
So I had my friend and colleague Jillian come over the other day and I asked her to look at where my feet are when I walk. Because our feet are also connected to our pelvic floor.
Off the bat she saw that I was (still) walking with my feet turned out. NO, THEY ARE NOT! I LEARNT ABOUT FOOT ALIGNMENT AGES AGO AND BEEN PRACTICING IT. CAN'T YOU SEE???? Ok, I had to admit that I saw what she saw and that there was room for improvement. So I straigthened my feet and walked around my kitchen. Felt weird. Of course it feels weird because I never do it. But my pelvic floor was relaxed and I didn't even have to do funny things with my tongue. And, btw, my bunions will never go away as long as my gait doesn't change. Thanks, Jill.
Now I'm walking not only with my feet pelvic width apart but also with my feet straight. (more info below)
I still have to tell my pelvic floor to relax 367 times a day but there is defenitely an improvement. But I have work to do!
Good thing I'm getting away from that long Ottawa winter that is starting to get annoying because next week I will be in Puerto Rico with my husband (and without the kids). Walking barefoot. SIGH. Oh, that just relaxed my pelvic floor :)
Here you can see in pictures what I'm talking about:
And click here to find out how to get your feet pelvis-width apart.
Oh, and if you are pregnant and in Ottawa and you want to learn this stuff about your body, come to one of our 6 week Prenatal Alignment Class at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre.
If you like doing some Restorative Exercise for your pelvic floor in the comfort of your home, I recommend the Alignment Snack: All Fo’ the Pelvic Flo’.