How to Perform Kegels During Pregnancy and Its Benefits
Created by Janaki Srinivasan Updated on Feb 15, 2021
A healthy pregnancy is ensured not just by eating right, but also by exercising. Many believe that exercise is not good for pregnancy, but that’s a myth to be done away with. In fact, there are exercises exclusively for pregnancy that strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and these ensure smooth delivery. However, remember to do these exercises under the supervision of an expert who knows and has helped pregnant women before.
Also, consult your doctor to know which ones are the best for you. And one such exercise is Kegels recommended for its numerous advantages during pregnancy. Our proparent blogger Janaki Srinivasan in her blog shares all you need to know about Kegels. Read on to know more…
Among the exercises recommended for pregnancy, the one that is most common is Kegels. Named after an American Gynecologist Dr. Arnold Kegel, who first created them in 1948, Kegel is a type of pelvic floor exercise that promotes a healthy labor. He said that Kegel strengthens pelvic floor muscles, treats urinary incontinence, hemorrhoids and helps control the bladder—some of the common problems women suffer during and post-pregnancy.
Why Kegel During Pregnancy?
Here are some reasons that will answer this question.
Pelvic muscles need to be strengthened:Pushing the baby through the pelvis is not as easy as you imagine. The muscles have to stretch to great levels. So it is a good idea to strengthen and prepare them for this herculean task
Various factors can weaken the pelvic floor muscles:Pregnancy, delivery, age, obesity, chronic constipation and certain kinds of surgical procedures. A weak pelvic floor can cause the pelvic muscles to swell and descend into the vagina, a condition referred to as pelvic organ prolapse. This increases pressure on the pelvis and leads to leakage of urine
Kegel prevents urine leakage:Kegel prevents the urine from leaking at the slightest cough or when you laugh (this happens post-pregnancy and can be quite annoying)
So, if you are looking at one exercise with multiple benefits, then choose Kegel over others. Besides the pelvic floor, it supports the functioning of uterus, bladder, rectum and intestines. What's more— It's easy and can be done anywhere—even when you're stuck in traffic!
How To Perform Kegel?
Here is how you need to perform Kegel:
Empty bladder:Kegel is done on an empty bladder and hence the first step is to do them in the morning after your toiletries so that you have an empty bladder
Identify the pelvic floor muscles:This can be done in two ways.
- Try stopping urine midstream. The muscles you're tightening to do these are the ones you'll contract when you do Kegels
- Insert a clean finger into the vagina and squeeze the muscles surrounding it. You can feel the tightening of the muscles and the pelvic floor moving up. When you relax you can feel the pelvic floor move down again
The exercise:Once you locate the pelvic floor muscles, lie on your back and all you have to do is contract the muscles for 5—10 seconds and relax them. Repeat this 4—5 times in the beginning. You can gradually increase the time to 10 seconds and keep repeating. Till you are able to do 3 sets of 20 Kegels each day
No limb movements:Don't move your leg, buttocks and abdominal muscles at the time of doing this exercise.
- If you are not able to locate your pelvic floor muscles, consult your doctor
- If you experience back pain or a pain in the abdomen, stop the exercise and consult your doctor; it means you are not doing the exercise right
- Remember that pelvic muscles like any other muscle gets stronger with time; don't expect immediate results and benefits
What Are The Benefits Of Doing Kegels in Pregnancy?
Stronger pelvic muscles:When you practice Kegels regularly, your pelvic floor muscles become strong and ease delivery. This exercise helps to understand how to contract and relax your pelvic muscles, which helps the baby move out of the womb smoothly without any wear and tear
Shorter active phases of labor:Women practicing Kegels are known to have shorter active phases of labor
Improved blood circulation:It improves the blood circulation in the genitals which help cure hemorrhoids and episiotomies (surgical cut made at the opening of the vagina during delivery)
Toned vaginal muscles:They tone up your vaginal muscles and boost your sex drive, helping you reach orgasm easily
Prevent urine leakage:They prevent urinary incontinence
How Long Can You Continue With Kegels?
You can start Kegels earlier on during pregnancy and continue till delivery. In fact, you can even continue them soon after delivery. Do it regularly, to stimulate circulation, aid healing and improve the pelvic floor muscles. Keep continuing it for a few months after delivery to help your muscles get back in shape. In fact, you can continue it throughout life to keep your pelvic floor muscles strong and prevent pelvic organ prolapse that is common among older women.
Kegels can be done anywhere. In fact, there are Apps that send daily reminders, track your exercise regime and provide musical routines for your pelvic exercises. You can even try vaginal exercisers, which are cone shaped and can be held in place when the muscles are tightened. Whatever method you choose, remember to continue with Kegels because it's simple, easy and highly beneficial in the long run.
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