Kegel exercises strengthen and work on the female’s pelvic floor muscles (muscles and ligaments that hang like a sling between the hips to support the bladder, uterus, and other organs. These muscles also control the flow of urine and the contractions of the vagina and the anal sphincter.
The goal of a Kegel exercise is to contract and then relax your pelvic floor muscles for short periods of time. It is best to go for several short sets a few times a day. This exercise is fast and free, and once a female learns how to do them properly, she can do them just about anytime, anywhere.
Benefits of kegel exercises in pregnancy
Doing Kegels regularly can have many benefits. Many signs and symptoms of a weak pelvic floor overlap with the side effects of pregnancy. For instance, if a female has trouble tightening and relaxing her pelvic floor muscles, she may then have trouble making it to the bathroom in time or have a high frequency of urination.
This condition is often diagnosed as “pelvic floor dysfunction” or pelvic floor weakness. Kegels are designed to treat such conditions of weak pelvic floor muscles.
Strengthening the pelvic floor with kegel exercises in pregnancy can help many pelvic health symptoms which commonly arise during or after pregnancy, such as-
- Urinary Leakage (stress urinary incontinence)
- Leakage of stool
- Pain with bowel movements
- Painful urination (dysuria)
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Painful sex
- Feeling like you have incomplete bowel movements
- Lower back pain
The doctor may want the female to wait until she has recovered from childbirth before starting any treatment to check if any of the symptoms have changed after childbirth. These symptoms may be symptoms of other conditions that are not related to pregnancy.
So, discuss any such concerns with your doctor in order to confirm the cause of the symptoms. Click here to consult our experts online!
How to do Kegel exercises when pregnant?
The proper technique of doing kegel exercises when pregnant is essential. But the good news is that a female can do this exercise in a variety of ways and settings, as per her comfort.
Kegel exercises can be done sitting, standing, lying down, or kneeling. Actually, a female can do kegel exercise pretty much any time, anywhere. Ideally, she should do all 4 positions every day for maximum strength.
To perform kegel exercises when pregnant, start with an empty bladder, pull up your pelvic muscles, and squeeze for a count of 5 or 6, then relax for a count of 5 to 6 seconds. Eventually, you would be able to work up to a set of 10 to 15 repetitions at a time. Aim to do kegel exercises at least 3 times a day.
Stick with Kegels (please maintain uniformity in caps and smalls for words throughout the blog) and do them properly to see the best results. Typically, females report noticing better bladder and bowel control after 6 to 12 weeks of doing kegel exercises regularly. Make kegel a permanent part of your daily routine for continued benefits.
How often should you do Kegels during pregnancy?
Once you have located your pelvic floor muscles and learned to do kegel exercises properly, here is the recommended routine for kegel exercises when pregnant-
- Begin by tightening the muscles for about 3 to 5 seconds and then relaxing them for as many seconds. Relaxing and contracting are both equally important. Do them for 5 minutes at a stretch, 3 times a day.
- As it gets easier, start contracting and relaxing your muscles tight for longer, going up to 10 seconds at a time, and increasing the repetitions.
- Try to aim for 3 sets of 20 repetitions daily.
Do not get frustrated if you are going slow initially. Take things slowly so as to not add more discomforts in the pregnancy. Overdoing Kegels can cause vaginal soreness, so stick to whatever is comfortable for you and follow your doctor’s advice.
If you have specific concerns about the health of pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy or after childbirth consults your doctor. Kegels are very beneficial and getting your doctor’s help can get you on the right track towards relief and optimal pelvic floor health quickly.