How, Why, and When to Kegel

Creative Commons License photo credit: dno1967b

Exercising the muscles on your pelvic floor (known as your “Kegel” muscles) can help you in a variety of ways during your pregnancy. These are the muscles that support your uterus, your bowels, and your bladder. They also strengthen and support your vaginal muscles.

Why Kegel exercises help

Pregnancy is tough on your body. In particular, labor and delivery can be quite a traumatic event. The better overall health you’re in, the easier time you’re going to have of it. The Kegel muscles are no exception to this rule.

By doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles on your pelvic floor, you’re likely to have an easier birth. When these muscles are stronger, they help you control what’s going on during labor and delivery.

In addition, strengthening your kegel muscles can help with two specific problems that often occur during your pregnancy: a leaky bladder and hemorrhoids.

After your baby is born, doing kegel exercises helps, too. They will help you to get bladder control back, help the healing of the perineum, and strengthen your muscles in the pelvic floor.

How to do Kegel exercises

You can do Kegel exercises without anyone even knowing that you’re doing them. To get used to how these exercises work, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. When you’re urinating, stop and start the flow of urine. This will help you identify the correct muscles involved.
  2. At any time, contract those muscles for about 10 to 12 seconds at a time. Release, and then repeat the process between 10 and 20 times.
  3. Make sure that you’re breathing normally during the exercise, as some women have a tendency to hold their breath.
  4. Be careful not to move nearby muscles, such as those in your legs, butt, or your abdomen.
  5. Do these exercises at least three times each day during pregnancy and during the postpartum period.

When to Kegel

You can do Kegel exercises in all sorts of situations. For example, you can do them sitting at your desk. You can do them waiting in the drive-through, or at a red light. You can do them in a doctor’s waiting room. You can do them before you get out of bed in the morning.

So, what about you? Did you do Kegel exercises before or after pregnancy, and did they help?


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