Well, as a woman you all must have heard about Kegel exercises. Kegel exercise was named after an American Gynecologist Dr Arnold Kegel in 1948. Kegel exercises help to strengthen the pelvic muscles and have healthy labour. They are very effective for treating urinary continence and bladder control. There are many other things which you should know about Kegel exercises like How to do, why to do and the benefits of doing Kegel during Pregnancy. So, keep reading the blog- Everything to Know about Kegel (Pelvic Floor) Exercises During Pregnancy.
Kegel exercises are an invisible form of exercise, which you can do anywhere and at any time of the day. The best thing about it is that no one knows that you are doing the Kegel exercise. It is very beneficial before, during and after pregnancy. During delivery, pushing the baby out in the world requires strong pelvic muscles and Kegel exercises is one way to do it.
Check out the blog to know more about Kegel exercise-
What are Kegel Exercises?
Kegel is a form of exercise, which involves squeezing and relaxing the pelvic muscles. These muscles support the other pelvic organs like bladder, uterus, rectum and small intestine. Doing regular Kegel exercises during and after pregnancy, helps to improve and maintain the bladder and bowel control. The pelvic muscles get strengthened and functions correctly.
This form of exercise is very beneficial throughout your life. Doing it daily during and after pregnancy helps to strengthen the pelvic muscles, which is much needed.
How to Practice Kegel Exercise?
So, you know how important Kegel exercises are. The best thing about it is, it does not require any heavy tool or for you to go to gym. You can practice Kegel at home very easily. Let’s find out how-
1. Find the Right Muscles-
It is very necessary to find the right muscles for you to perform the exercise. You can try following things to Identify the Right Muscles:
- Imagine you are sitting on a marble. Now think and try to pick up a marble with your vagina, “sucking” into it.
- Stop urinating in the midway, the muscle which you feel is getting tightened is your Kegel muscles. Don’t repeat it again and again, or you will increase the risk of having UTI.
- Insert a clean finger in your vagina. Squeeze the muscles as if you are holding the urine, if you feel tightened around the finger that means you have got the right muscles.
2. Get Comfortable-
It is necessary that you feel comfortable, before you start doing this exercise. You can start by laying down and then after you are able to do it properly, you can do them while standing and sitting too.
3. Squeeze the Muscles-
You know which muscle to squeeze now, following are some of the Kegel exercises which you can do-
- Long Hold: In this form, squeeze the pelvic floor muscles and then hold it for several seconds. Relax, a bit and then again squeeze it. First start by holding it for 2 seconds, then gradually increase the time.
- Contract and Release- Quickly tighten and relax your pelvic muscles several times.
- Hold for 3 seconds and relax for 3 seconds- Squeeze the muscle for 3 seconds and then relax them for 3 seconds.
Why to do Kegel Exercise?
It is not necessary that Kegel exercises have to be done only while you are pregnant. There are many ways through which your Pelvic floor muscles get weakened like obesity, advanced age, chronic constipation etc. Kegel is the best way to deal with all these things and to strengthen your pelvic muscles.
Benefits of Kegel Exercises During Pregnancy
Now, we know what is Kegel exercise and how to practice it. Let us understand the Benefits of Kegel Exercises during Pregnancy.
- Improves Bladder Control- During Pregnancy, your bladder enlarges and after delivery, you lose bladder control also. Women experience leaking urine during pregnancy. Doing regular Kegels helps to prevent conditions like urinary incontinence and improves bladder control.
- Strengthens Pelvic Muscles- During normal delivery or vaginal childbirth pelvic floor muscles weaken; they don’t provide enough support for pelvic organs. Vaginal childbirth is one of the reasons doctors recommend Kegel exercise, as it helps to strengthen pelvic muscles.
- Reduces risk of Fecal Incontinence- In this condition, your body loses the stool before you go to the bathroom. Kegel helps to strengthen the rectal muscles too and prevents this situation.
- Performing Kegel exercises while you are pregnant, helps to improve the blood circulation in the genitals, which speed up the recovery process.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Do not perform Kegel exercise, when your bladder is partially or completely full as you can leak some urine.
- Kegel exercise should only focus on Pelvic floor muscles.
- Keep breathing normally while doing exercise. Do not hold your breath.
Best Kegel or Pelvic Floor Exercises That Work
1. Floor Lifts-
It is an effective pelvic floor exercise which strengthens the muscles.
How to perform:
- Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
- Inhale, squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and lift up your hips.
- Continue breathing and hold it for about 10 seconds.
- Lower the hips and then release your pelvic floor muscle.
When to do Kegel and How often?
After pregnancy, you should ask your healthcare provider before you start doing Kegel exercise. As they can explain to you properly, how to do it and what precautions to take. During pregnancy, it is best to start with the Kegel exercise in the second trimester, which is around after 14 weeks of pregnancy. In the second trimester, mom-to-be need much energy.
There is no set rule on how often you should do Kegel. You can do Kegel twice a week, and then increase it to do daily.
Kegel exercise is a little secret of all women. Men cannot perform and don’t need to perform Kegel. This is that secret exercise, which you can do any time and no one will know. All will be just amazed by the result. So, stay fit and enjoy your motherhood.