Kegel exercises can be beneficial to all women, pregnant or not, in various ways. In the simplest form, Kegels are pelvic floor muscle contractions that help with strengthening the pelvic floor of women that is otherwise depleted during childbirth. For that reason, these exercises can be particularly useful for pregnant women, and especially because performing them does not require much physical effort. Strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles using Kegel exercises is useful because the fetus that grows in the womb puts pressure on other internal organs. Due to this said pressure on the bladder, uncontrolled urination can sometimes occur. Doing Kegels helps prevent this problem, which is known as urge incontinence, from occurring.
Furthermore, Kegel exercises may facilitate the delivery of the baby with considerably less pain. Pregnant women who regularly do these exercises will easily control pelvic floor muscles during childbirth, and it is less likely that strong muscle tissue will be torn during childbirth (thus reducing pain during labor). Recovery after childbirth is also easier and faster when the pelvic floor muscles are strengthened. Clearly, there are numerous reasons that pregnant women should partake in Kegels. Now you all must be wondering the same thing: How do I do Kegel exercises and how do I know if I am doing them properly? Well today I am going to answer both these questions and show you how to correctly and adequately perform Kegel’s so that you can be on your way to a healthy pregnancy.
Identify The Pelvic Floor Muscle
To perform Kegel exercises properly, it is necessary to identify the correct muscles that you should activate during these exercises. These muscles are the ones that you use to urinate. If you’re not sure which muscle this exactly is, you can identify it in one of the following ways:
- Try to stop yourself from urinating or passing gas: Tighten the pelvic floor muscles to stop the flow of urine. Preventing this bodily actions is critical in performing Kegels.
- Identify the pelvic floor muscles by using your finger: Put your finger into your vagina and try to squeeze it. If you feel pressure from all sides, you activate the right muscles. Don’t forget to wash your hands before and after performing this action.
- Consult with your gynecologist: Your gynecologist can show you how to tighten the pelvic floor muscles the correct way if you are having trouble.
Performing the Kegel Exercises
Once you have identified the right muscle, it is time to strengthen it. Whether you are pregnant or not, Kegel exercises are always performed in the same way. Before you begin, just remember that just because stopping the urine flow is a good way to identify the muscle, it does not necessarily mean that you should do the exercises during urination. Instead, firstly you should empty your bladder and then begin the exercises. This way, you will be more relaxed, and you will reduce the risk of any pesky urinary infections. Here are the steps for doing Kegels properly:
- Take a position that best suits you and your belly: You can stand, lie down, or sit in any position. Kegel exercises can be adapted to any and every position. The great thing with this is that you can conceal them and nobody will know when you are actually doing them!
- Activate the pelvic floor muscles: Tighten the muscles we have been talking about and hold for a few seconds. If this is your first time doing Kegels, especially when you are pregnant, you should start by tightening the muscles for 3-4 seconds, and then releasing. Over time, increase the duration consistently and strive toward the goal of 10 seconds of tightening.
- Create a routine: In order for any exercise to have an effect, it is necessary to repeat it on a regular basis. The ideal way is to start doing Kegel exercises as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. Do them 3 times a day, in sets of 10 contractions. Try to create and maintain a daily routine for this. For example, perform them while you’re watching your favorite TV show, while you wait for the food to cook in the oven, or simply just set a timer to remind you daily to do your set of Kegels. A proper and steady routine is the key to getting the most out of your Kegels.
How Do I Know That I Am Doing The Kegels Correctly?
Kegel exercises should not be strenuous and should only include the pelvic floor muscle. Sometimes when you are doing Kegels you may realize that you are tightening other muscles as well, and when this happens you should take notice and stop immediately. Essentially, to get a better gauge on whether you are doing the exercises properly, try the following:
- Do not move other muscles: The stomach and leg muscles are the most common mistakes that women tighten during Kegels. Therefore, you should put your hand on your stomach or legs, and make sure they aren’t moving. If they are moving, you need to go back to the basics and identify the proper pelvic muscles and start only tightening them.
- Breathe normally: Kegel exercises do not require any special effort or breathing techniques. If you stop breathing normally while performing Kegel exercises, you are not do the exercises properly.While they are very simple once you get the hang of them, Kegel exercises can render significant benefits to pregnant women. Some common pregnancy symptoms, such as difficulty with retention of urine and stool can be completely prevented with these simple exercises. The process of giving birth and pushing the baby through the birth canal will be a much more comfortable experience as well.
Pregnancy and childbirth are both unique experiences and if/when you are going through them you will find out that there are many inconveniences included. One way to battle some of these issues that may arise is by doing your Kegels. Once you start practicing them regularly, you will definitely see a drastic difference between your pain threshold and potential incontinence issues. So now tell me, have you been ladies been doing your Kegels?