Did you know that your breathing pattern can affect your pelvic floor, your digestion and your stress levels!?
There is a close connection between the pelvic floor and the respiratory diaphragm. The diaphragm is a dome shaped muscle that rests across the base of the rib cage (like a mushroom cap).
As you breath in the diaphragm descends and the pelvic floor stretches and relaxes. As you breath out the diaphragm draws up and shortens slightly. This rhythmical movement of the pelvic floor with the diaphragm keeps the pelvic floor muscles in a healthy state of contraction and relaxation, keeping them healthy in pregnancy and able to relax during birth!
Unfortunately, so many of us fall into poor breathing habits adopting upper chest breathing patterns. Our breath is controlled by a primitive part of our brain and is highly influenced by our emotional states. Fear, stress and anxiety can change your breathing pattern, increasing its pace and making it less efficient.
When the breath is shallow and predominately into your upper chest it sends a signal to your brain to reinforce a stress response activating the sympathetic nervous system and increasing blood pressure and cortisol. This is a primal strategy that we have developed to help us survive if we were say, being chased by a sabertooth tiger, however, not so good if we are just responding to stressful emails at work!
When we are using relaxed diaphragmatic (belly) breathing it puts our nervous system in a relaxed state and tells the brain that we safe! It promotes a healthy balance in the pelvic floor. This pump-like action of our diaphragm also plays an important roll in gut motility and digestion, which can help prevent constipation during pregnancy!
Breathing techniques are also one of the most effective natural pain relief strategies to use during labour.
To learn these breath techniques during pregnancy join my upcoming 8-week group program – Support your Mind, Core & Pelvic Floor