Not only do Kegels strengthen your pelvic floor to help you have a healthy labour, but they’ve been known to assist with bladder control and urinary continence
Kegels are simple clench and release exercises which strengthen pelvic floor muscles. During pregnancy, these muscles can weaken significantly thanks to the pressure your growing baby puts on your pelvic floor. Chronic constipation, obesity and age can also stress these muscles out. Cue Kegels.
By clenching and releasing your pelvic floor muscles, you’ll be strengthening them which will help prevent a leakage of your bowel and urinary tract movements (known as pelvic organ collapse). Your pelvic floor is responsible for supporting your uterus, bladder, rectum and intestines so their strength is of vital importance!
Benefits of Kegels During Pregnancy
As your due date approaches, Kegels can make you feel more comfortable. As your uterus expands to aid your growing foetus, it puts a lot of strain on the muscles surrounding it. This can cause them to stretch and weaken. Kegels prevent this from happening. They will also help you from leaking urine when you sneeze or cough – something that becomes a lot harder to restrain from after giving birth.
Strong pelvic floor muscles will also help you hugely in the delivery room when you start to push. Kegels help prepare you to relax and contract your muscles in preparation for childbirth. This will help assist your baby in moving through the birth canal and prevent injury or tearing during delivery. Research proves that women who practice Kegels are known to experience a shorter labour.
Performing Kegel exercises while pregnant also aids in blood flow to your genitals which will also aid in healing after childbirth.
And let’s not forget about your sex drive! Kegels tighten and strengthen your vaginal muscles, which makes sexy time a far more pleasurable time.
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How to Find Your Kegel Muscles and Work Them
If the above isn’t reason enough to start doing Kegels, then we don’t know what is.
To identify these muscles, hold in your urine mid-wee. The muscles you’re using to do this are your Kegels. Once you locate them, don’t make interrupting your wee sessions a habit as it may lead to a urinary infection. Rather perform Kegel exercises when your bladder is empty.
When performing your Kegels, make sure you focus on the muscles inside your back passage and vagina – not your lower abdomen or buttocks. Also make sure you breathe in and out – don’t hold your breath. This will also help you relax.
- Lie on the floor with your hand over your stomach for comfort. Take a deep breath in and relax.
- Squeeze and pull in the muscles around your back passage and vagina. Hold for five seconds and then relax for 10 seconds.
- Repeat the process 3-4 times initially. You can increase the number of squeezes and the amount of time you clench each week.
Most women can notice results within four to eight weeks of regular Kegels. For some others, however, it may take many months to see improvement in the pelvic floor.
*If you experience any lower back pain when doing Kegels stop immediately as it’s a sign you’re doing them wrong and could end up injuring yourself.
Happy clenching, ladies!