Kegel exercises were invented by Dr. Arnold Kegel. They are also known as pelvic floor exercises. Kegel exercises are very useful for pregnant women as they strengthen and tones up the pelvic muscles that support the bladder, uterus and bowels. These exercises help to deal with urinary incontinence that is a common problem during pregnancy.
Urinary incontinence occurs due to increased flexibility in the joints and laxity of the pelvic muscles plus the pressure of the weight of growing baby in the womb. Kegel exercises also prevent haemorrhoids and vaginal tearing that occurs at the time of delivery.
By practising Kegel exercises during pregnancy you are able to push the baby easily during delivery. You feel less tired and less exhausted after the delivery because of strong and flexible pelvic floor muscles.
These exercises are beneficial in post natal period too. After the baby is born Kegel exercises help to repair and restore the prolapsed uterus faster. It helps to maintain control over urinary incontinence after the delivery. Kegel exercises are relatively safe exercises during pregnancy. They are not strenuous or painful, but it is a good idea to discuss with your gynaecologist before you start doing Kegel exercises.
You can do them anywhere and anytime without anybody being aware that you are exercising. These exercises can be done in any position. Sitting, standing, lying on the bed, you can do them while working on your desk or while watching TV or reading a book. You can set a reminder on your cell phone to maintain a schedule.
How To Perform Kegel Exercises During Pregnancy?
It is easy to do Kegel exercise. You only have to use your pelvic floor muscles to perform these exercises. To perform Kegel imagine that you are holding the flow of urine. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles for 3 seconds. Release and relax for 3 seconds. This forms one round of the exercise.
You can do 20-25 rounds per set, four to five times a day. You may not be able to hold the contraction for long at the beginning but with practice and patience you will be able to do so. Gradually increase the duration of each contraction to 10 seconds. Another simple way of performing Kegel exercise is while urinating.
You should stop the flow of urine in between by contracting the pelvic floor muscles and hold for 3 seconds. Release and relax. You can do it once or twice a day. It will help you to understand what Kegel exercise means. You will notice that your muscles are gaining strength by the sixth or seventh week of your pregnancy if you regularly perform Kegel exercises.
While doing this exercise try to keep your legs still and do not contract your buttocks or abdominal muscles. No one will notice that you are doing contractions even if you are sitting with people at that time. Precaution Do not perform Kegel exercise with a full bladder. Trying to do pelvic contractions with a full bladder may cause urinary tract infection. Keep your breathing normal while performing this exercise and focus on contracting the pelvic muscle only.