Kegel Exercises During Pregnancy

Kegel Exercises During Pregnancy

Now that you’ve figured out your due date, it’s a good idea to start thinking about pregnancy fitness. You’ve probably heard of Kegel exercises — they’re often talked about, but maybe not fully understood. So, just what do you have to gain from these invisible exercises, which are named after the doctor who pioneered their use? Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which, because they support your bladder, uterus, and rectum, means they’ve got a pretty important job to do during your pregnancy.

Why Kegel Exercises Are Good for You

During your pregnancy, your baby's increasing size and weight puts more strain on the pelvic floor muscles, and they may not always be able to keep up, resulting in bladder leakage. Then, during labor, the muscles stretch even more to allow your baby to pass through the birth canal, and can tear.

By strengthening your pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy, you can prevent or treat incontinence and even speed healing after a cut or tear in the perineum during childbirth. Another bonus? Kegels are your little secret. You can do them anywhere, even while multitasking.

The Kegel Technique

If you’ve never done Kegel exercises, follow along. It’s all about squeezing the same muscles you would use to stop a stream of urine or to hold it in when you’re flatulent. Squeeze for a few seconds, and then relax for a few seconds. Repeat. That’s it! Not sure if you’ve gotten the hang of it? Try inserting a clean finger into your vagina and squeeze these muscles. If you feel a tightening around your finger, you’re doing it right. This technique comes in especially handy when you sneeze or laugh and can help prevent accidental bladder leakage.

What to Do:

  • Squeeze for up to 10 seconds, and then relax for another 10 seconds
  • Try sets of 10 squeezes, just a few times a day
  • Move only your pelvic floor muscles

While Kegel exercise for pregnancy is a useful way to train your body, there are other ways you can stay fit, too. Learn more about prenatal yoga and jogging during pregnancy here.

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