Kegel exercises (KAY-gul or KEY-gul) can really benefit pregnant women in strengthening pelvic muscles for the arduous feat of childbirth. These muscles also tone up the pelvic area and help avoid and reduce post childbirth problems like temporary incontinence and urine leakage (urine might leak if your bladder is full and you sneeze or laugh out loud). But if you do Kegel exercises, you can really minimize or avoid problems like this.
In Kegel exercises, essentially you have to flex and contract your pelvic floor muscles.
First, find the right muscles.
- Try and stop the flow of urine when you go to the bathroom. These are the muscles that you need to flex and contract.
- Or try another way: Insert a finger in your vagina and squeeze the surrounding muscles. You should be able to feel your vagina tighten and pelvic floor move upward. Then relax your muscles and feel your pelvic floor return to the original position.
- If you have problems locating these muscles, do not be shy in asking a doctor.
Do these exercises on an empty bladder though and do not unnecessarily start and stop the urine flow. Because doing Kegel exercises while emptying your bladder can actually weaken the pelvic muscles.
Here is how to do these exercises:
- Once you've identified your pelvic floor muscles, empty your bladder and sit or lie down
- Contract your pelvic floor muscles
- Hold the contraction for three seconds then relax for three seconds
- Repeat 10 times
- To get maximum benefit, focus on just the pelvic floor muscles and not other abdomen or thigh muscles
- Relax, breath freely and focus on your pelvic floor muscles
You can do this anywhere - in the car, at work, waiting in the drivers office, while reading this article…
Repeat this set of 10 Kegel exercises, about three times a day.