Being fit and having a healthy pregnancy becomes our sole target when we hear the news about our pregnancy. We try to make it all work for our baby and us by eating healthy, going for a walk, and keeping the mind calm. However, many of us might overlook one crucial exercise - kegel exercises for pregnant women. You must have heard or read about kegel exercises for pregnant women. Still, if you wonder what kegel exercise for women during pregnancy is safe, who should be doing these exercises, Is it really for you, etc., this article will help you explore these topics.
Why Kegel Exercises For Pregnant Women Are Important
When you go into labour, the baby slides down, and your pelvic muscles need to expand to let your baby pass through the bone structure and the vaginal canal. If you have done regular exercises, your pelvic floor is stronger and more flexible to help you with childbirth. Moreover, it is also helpful post-partum to get the pelvic strength back.
Are Kegel Exercises For You?
That is not true if you think that kegel exercises are meant only for pregnant women. Although, if you are expecting mommy to be, kegel exercises are really good for you. But, as kegel exercise helps keep the pelvic floor strong, you should definitely be doing them.
Apart from this, experts also believe that if you are experiencing hip, back, abdominal or pelvic pain, strengthening the pelvic floor by doing kegel exercise can also help you in these pains and conditions. Moreover, in old age, a strong pelvic floor will also help you in better bladder control too! So, no matter your age or whether or not you are pregnant, kegel exercises can help you.
When To Do Kegel Exercises For Pregnant Women
Experts say that it is never too early to start kegel exercises for pregnant women during their pregnancy. In addition, it is safe to keep doing the Kegels throughout the pregnancy(1).
Because of the stitches, stretched uterus and skin tears, many women face the issue of urine incontinence even after childbirth. Continuing Kegels help in eliminating this issue for you. You can start doing Kegels right after delivery. And how long should you be doing the kegel exercise? Well, as long as your health allows you to do it. This can benefit you lifelong!
How To Practice Kegel Exercises For Pregnant Women
Here are simple steps of doing the kegel exercise:
Know which is the correct muscle– The most important step in doing kegel the right way is to know which muscle to flex. The muscle that we pull or contract when we want the peeing to stop midway is the muscle that you would need to flex for a kegel.
Relax and get comfortable– If you are stressed, it will become difficult for you to do kegel effectively. So, for the first few sessions, relax, be comfortable, and even lie down if needed.
Squeeze and flex– Squeeze the pelvic floor muscle inwards once you are comfortable in your situation. There are different variations of kegel exercises for pregnant women that you can try. Those are mentioned in the section below.
Repeat– The more you do these exercises, the more you will benefit. So, keep doing them on a repeat mode whenever you have time. The best part is that no one will even know when you are doing your Kegels.
Some Sample Kegel Exercises For Pregnant Women
Here are some sample variations of the kegel exercise that you can try:
Squeeze, Relax & Repeat– In this variation, you would follow a rhythm of squeezing the pelvic floor muscle and relaxing it for a second each and repeating it 20 times. Take a break and do this set 3 times in one session.
Hold For 5, Relax For 5– Another variation of rhythmic squeeze and relax, but a little longer where you squeeze for around 5 seconds and then relax for the next 5 seconds.
Long Hold– This is a more advanced variation of kegel exercises for pregnant women. Once you are comfortable identifying the muscle, do this variation of holding the muscle for longer and then releasing it for a few seconds before going for a long hold again. Do this in 3 sets of 20 each. This will help build bladder control after delivery.
How To Focus On The Right Muscles While Doing Kegel Exercises
When you are learning to do kegel for the first time, relax and take deep breaths. The best way to know if you are flexing the right muscles or not is to assume that you are peeing or have an urge to pee. To stop peeing midway, the muscles you will flex and pull inwards are the same muscles you would flex and stretch to go kegel exercise.
Once you have the practice, this will become easy for you. But initially, while you are still learning, relax and take deep breaths while doing this. Do not hold your breath or flex other muscles like your buttocks, chest, abdomen etc.
Things To Avoid While Performing Kegel Exercises For Pregnant Women
- -While you are doing your kegel exercise, please ensure that while tightening the pelvis muscles, you do not accidentally tighten the muscles of your thigh, stomach, chest or buttocks.
- -Do not avoid your breath while doing kegel exercise.
- -Do not kegel on a full bladder if your bladder is full. Instead, go to the washroom, empty your bladder, and continue doing the exercise.
- -Do not do kegel exercise while you are peeing.
- -If you feel that your vaginal muscles are tightening and you experience pain while having intercourse, you probably do kegel incorrectly. Speak to your gynaecologist about this.
Benefits Of Kegel Exercises For Pregnant Women
There are many benefits of doing kegel exercises in general also. But kegel exercises for pregnant women are even more beneficial for the following reasons:
Strengthening Of The Pelvic Organ Support– As your pregnancy progresses and your belly weight increases, your reproductive and other organs are pushed towards the pelvic floor. Starting early on and doing kegel exercises would help in strengthening the organ support in the pelvic floor to support the pregnancy.
Improves Bladder Control– While there are a few other methods too for Bladder Control During Pregnancy, doing regular kegel exercises for pregnant women also helps control the bladder. As the baby grows, it puts pressure on the bladder, and many expecting moms complain of urine leakage and frequent bathroom trips. Kegel can save you from a bit of embarrassment or the hassle of changing underwear again and again.
Reduces The Risk Of Fecal Incontinence– Kegel exercises help you strengthen the rectal floor. Fecal Incontinence is when you cannot hold the pressure of poop, and you poop before reaching the bathroom. Kegel helps in this condition as well.
Better Sex– One fun and added advantage of doing your kegel exercises for pregnant women is that sex is easier and pain-free as your pelvic floor is stronger.
Because of the discreet way of doing it, kegel is the most convenient exercise that you can do. It can be secretly done and help strengthen your pelvic floor and assist you in better childbirth. In addition, it is one of the best forms of pregnancy exercises and even postnatal exercise to gain bladder control. So, keep doing your Kegels, momma!