If you’ve never been pregnant, it’s likely you’ve spent little time thinking about your pelvic floor. And yet, now is exactly the time that you should be focused on it. A healthy pelvic floor can prepare you for a great pregnancy and a safe delivery, and it can prevent a host of problems that may occur after childbirth. The pelvic floor works as a basket of muscles, holding your uterus, bladder, and rectum in place. When you’re young, and your pelvic floor has not suffered the effects of age or childbirth, you usually see few complications. But sometimes, strain on the pelvic floor (like carrying a baby for nine month, giving birth, and the natural effects of gravity over time) can cause problems like bladder leakage. The good news? These effects can be lessened, or even eliminated, if proper care is given to the pelvic floor now. Here are the steps you need to take to ensure that you’re taking proper care of your pelvic floor, and yourself, prior to becoming pregnant.
Assemble your squad.
Finding the right team of professionals is key to keeping your health in check. If you haven’t already, do your due diligence and start seeing these health care professionals on a regular basis.
- Primary Care physician
Keep a healthy weight and develop a workout routine.
If you’re planning to get pregnant, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that weight doesn’t matter pre-pregnancy – the healthier you are now, the healthier you will be during your pregnancy, and the easier it may be to shed those extra pounds after baby arrives. Not only that, but keeping your core and pelvic floor strong now will help better prepare you for pregnancy and childbirth.
Maintain a healthy diet.
Eating right is always a good idea, and it can really help you maintain your weight. In addition, keeping your diet in check can help you prevent diabetes (a condition that is on the rise in the US, and that, in some cases lead to neurogenic bladder.)
Get a well-woman exam every year – be sure to talk with your physician about general health metrics like blood pressure levels, diet, weight, and any stress that you may be experiencing. Have a regular Pap smear every 3 years if you’re between 21 and 30. While you’re at it, be sure to have a yearly breast exam to check for any unusual changes. Do your own monthly exams as well and become familiar with how your breasts normally look and feel.
Quit those bad habits
If you haven’t heard, smoking is really not cool anymore and even if you don’t believe that, consider this – aside from a host of other health problems, smoking can contribute to a leaky bladder.
Uncover any risk factors that you may have by learning your health history.
Talk with your family to learn about any risks that you may have health-wise. Knowing these now can help you prevent possible health threats down the road.
Even if you only choose to follow a couple of these steps prior to pregnancy, know this: this time is all about prevention – the steps you take now to take care of your body will pay off in folds down the road. Don’t wait to start taking control of your health.
Check in with us all month to learn how to stay healthy at every stage of life.