As the base of the pelvis, the pelvic floor supports the bladder, bowel, rectum, and uterus – essentially enabling your ability to pee, poop, and pass wind. A healthy pelvic floor also contributes to enjoyable sex and prevents complications during pregnancy, labor, childbirth, and postpartum recovery. 

If the pelvic floor muscles lack the strength and stamina required to repeatedly stretch and relax during labor, they might not bounce back to their original state after childbirth, meaning the pelvic organs would suffer from inadequate support and complications could occur.

In this article, we explain why pelvic floor health is important to your pregnancy and what you can do to prepare this part of your body for an easier birth as well as a faster recovery.  

What Is the Pelvic Floor?

The pelvic floor is made up of a group of intertwining muscles, ligaments, facia, nerves, and connective tissue that spreads across the bottom of the pelvic cavity. Attached to the pubic bone at the front of the body, the tailbone (coccyx) at the back, and the left and right pelvic bones, the pelvic floor is similar to a supportive sling for the pelvic organs.  

What Does the Pelvic Floor Do? 

The primary role of the pelvic floor is to support the pelvic organs and keep them in place so they can function correctly. 

To support urination, the pelvic floor muscles synchronize with organs like the bladder, and the same happens with the bowel and anus to enable feces or wind to exit the body. During bowel and bladder movements, the pelvic floor muscles relax to open the urethra or anus and they then bounce back to their resting tone to close the orifices and prevent bladder or bowel leakages. 

For women, the pelvic floor muscles also play a role in sexual arousal and pain-free sex by supporting the vaginal muscles. 

Is the Perineum Part of the Pelvic Floor? 

The perineum is the area located at the bottom of the pelvis between the vagina and anus. On the outside of the body, it is a delicate and erogenous patch of skin that contributes to female sexual arousal.

On the inside of the body, the perineum supports the pelvic floor muscles and also houses muscles, membranes, connective tissues, and nerves that play a role in childbirth, urination, and bowel movements.  

During labor and childbirth, as many as 85% of first-time mothers giving birth vaginally are known to experience perineal tears (tearing of the perineum). While many of these tears are mild and heal quickly, severe perineal tears involving the anus and rectal lining can be prevented by exercising the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy and massaging the perineum after week 34.  

The Pelvic Floor During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the pelvic floor muscles support the uterus and the weight of the growing baby. Additionally, along with the core and abdominal muscles, the pelvic floor provides physical stability for the ‘trunk’ of the pregnant body to improve posture and prevent back pain. 

However, along with hormonal changes that soften the muscles during pregnancy, the extra weight from the uterus can cause the pelvic floor muscles to lengthen and weaken. When the pelvic floor muscles weaken, inconvenient bladder leaks, fecal leaks, and lower back pain can occur. 

If no action is taken to keep the pelvic floor muscles healthy during pregnancy, they will also lack the strength and endurance required to stretch and relax during labor and childbirth. This can result in longer labor and more severe perineal tearing as the baby’s head and shoulders pass through the vaginal canal.    

Weak pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy and labor can also result in long-term urine or fecal incontinence after childbirth, as well as dyspareunia (pain during sex) and pelvic organ prolapse. For this reason, women are encouraged to perform regular exercises to strengthen and relax the pelvic floor during pregnancy.

How to Keep Your Pelvic Floor Healthy During Pregnancy

According to medical research, women who exercise their pelvic floor during pregnancy are less likely to encounter complications like incontinence, dyspareunia, or pelvic organ prolapse after childbirth.

To keep your pelvic floor healthy and strong during pregnancy, Kegels are one of the most effective exercises you can practice. One Kegel is performed by contracting the pelvic floor muscles (similar to when trying to stop yourself from peeing or pooping) and then releasing and relaxing the same muscles. 

Intentionally contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles in repetitive sets like this will not only keep your pelvic floor strong but also train these muscles to endure repeated contraction and relaxation during labor. 

Understanding how to relax the pelvic floor muscles after each contraction will help you not only to breathe through labor more easily but also push more gently to avoid perineal tearing. Training the pelvic floor muscles throughout pregnancy also helps them to bounce back quicker after childbirth, which can prevent incontinence and other complications.     

Other forms of exercise and stretching to keep the pelvic floor healthy during pregnancy include regularly practicing child’s pose, cat pose, side leg lifts, and squats.  

How Often Should You Practice Kegels During Pregnancy?

Kegels are not only recommended to keep the pelvic floor healthy during pregnancy they also help to re-strengthen this group of muscles after childbirth. A general maintenance program for Kegels is to hold the contraction for 3-5 seconds, for 10-12 repetitions, 3-4 times per day.

If you struggle to find the pelvic floor or don’t know if you’re doing your Kegels correctly consider using Kegel Weights to ensure you reap the proper benefits.  

Kegel Weights to Keep the Pelvic Floor Healthy

When it comes to performing Kegels, research has shown that most women are exercising the wrong muscles. To make Kegels easier and more effective, Intimate Rose designed these body-safe Kegel Weights that are made from medical-grade silicone and require very little effort from you. 

Easily inserted with the help of a water-based lubricant, Intimate Rose Kegel Weights are designed to feel similar to a lightly weighted tampon. Once inserted, you’ll feel the vaginal and pelvic floor muscles naturally contract and relax to hold the weight in place – meaning you can get on with other chores or hobbies while the Kegel Weights train your pelvic floor muscles. 

Kegel weights are generally considered perfectly safe for use while pregnant during the first trimester. However, because each body is unique, it’s always a good idea to check with your OB/GYN if Kegel Weights are right for you before using them.  

Perineal Massage During Pregnancy

Perineal massage and gentle stretching of the perineal skin can be practiced for 5 minutes 3-4 times per week after week 34 of pregnancy to help the perineum stretch easier during labor and childbirth. 

As well as reducing the risk of severe perineal tearing, massaging the perineum also helps to boost pelvic floor health during pregnancy. 

How to Do Perineal Massage

Before starting a perineal massage, it’s helpful to have a warm bath or hold a warm compress against the perineum for 10 minutes beforehand. 

  • After washing your hands and nails, find a comfortable position lying or sitting with support for the head and shoulders. 
  • Apply some water-based lubricant to one of your thumbs and perineum, then place the thumb into the vagina as far as the first knuckle. 
  • With gentle pressure, press the thumb down toward the rectum until you feel a slight stinging or burning sensation as the skin and skin tissues stretch. In a U-shaped motion sweep the thumb slowly left and right, maintaining gentle pressure in the form of a gently stretching massage. 
  • When you’ve become used to the stinging sensation of gently stretching the perineum, try pressing the thumb toward the rectum for 45-60 seconds while you inhale and exhale before releasing. 
  • Using the same U-shaped movement, sweep your thumb left while maintaining gentle pressure here for 45-60 seconds and then repeat on the right side.  

What Is a Pelvic Massage Wand?

Pelvic massage wands are used to massage and relax skin tissue, scar tissue, and deep-rooted trigger points. Given the increasing size of the uterus after the week 34 of pregnancy, perineal massage can often be easier and more effective when performed with a Perineal Massage Wand. 

During postpartum recovery, the same pelvic massage wands are recommended to improve blood circulation around perineal tears and reduce the development of painful scar tissue as perineal tears or episiotomy incisions heal.


To avoid complications like incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse after childbirth it’s important to keep the pelvic floor strong and healthy during pregnancy. 

Kegel exercises in the first trimester and perineal massage after week 34 are two of the most worthwhile exercises for improving pelvic floor health during pregnancy.

For best results, all pregnant women are advised to speak with their OB/GYN about the benefits of using Kegel Weights for better pelvic floor toning and a Pelvic Massage Wand for more effective perineal massage.   


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