Pelvic exercises 'can help with childbirth and recovery'

Women should perform floor exercises to develop strength in the pelvic region, it has been suggested.

Dr Sheila Dugan, a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, says keeping pelvic muscles healthy is key not only for supporting normal bodily functions but also for ensuring a trouble-free labour.

"The pelvic floor is equally important during childbirth as it is in training for a marathon," she comments.

Dr Dugan notes that women who have recently given birth will benefit from such exercises in particular.

She notes: "During childbirth, the pelvic floor muscles stretch from teacup-sized to the size of an infant's head. This stretching and tearing requires healing and regain of function."

Earlier this month, researchers from the University of Sydney at the Royal North Hospital, Australia, reported that babies in the country are being born bigger than ever before.

A study carried out between 1990 and 2005 found a significant increase in the number of babies weighing over four kilograms at birth.