Kegel exercises, also called pelvic floor exercises, help strengthen the muscles that support the uterus, bladder, and bowels. Kegel exercises also help strengthen vaginal muscles.
What are the benefits of Kegel Exercises?
Pregnant women who perform Kegel exercises often find they have an easier birth. Strengthening these muscles during pregnancy can help you develop the ability to control your muscles during labor and delivery. Toning all of these muscles will also minimize two common problems during pregnancy: bladder leaks and hemorrhoids.
Kegel exercises are also recommended after pregnancy to promote perineal healing, regain bladder control, and strengthen pelvic floor muscles. The best thing about Kegel exercises is that they can be done anywhere, and no one knows you’re doing them.
Advantages of Kegel Exercises
- Less chance of perineal tearing
- Less chance of urinary problems and bladder leaks
- More ability to control muscles during labor and delivery
- Less chance of developing hemorrhoids
How to do Kegel Exercises
- 1) To find the correct muscles, practice stopping the flow of urine when urinating.
2) Contract pelvic floor muscles for 10 seconds, then relax, repeating 10-20 times.
3) Breathe normally during the exercises and do this at least three times a day.
4) Try not to move your leg, buttock, or abdominal muscles during the exercises.
Ideas for when to do Kegel Exercises
- When you’re stopped at a red light
- In the waiting room at the midwife or doctor’s office
- Drive thru’s such as the bank, dry cleaners, and pharmacy
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth Third Ed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, CH. 12.
Cleveland Clinic Health System, http://www.cchs.net/
Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide. Simkin, Penny P.T., et al, CH. 6.
American Pregnancy Association, http://www.americanpregnancy.org