What are Kegel exercises, and how do I do them?
Kegel exercises are used to strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor, which include the muscles supporting the urethra, bladder, uterus and rectum. As your uterus grows, you will have more pressure and weight on your pelvic floor. Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to urine loss, especially common with coughing or sneezing. Doing Kegel exercises can minimize urine loss and also help your vaginal area to recover after the birth.
To do Kegel exercises, you need to squeeze and contract the muscles of your pelvic floor many times a day. You can identify these muscles by trying to stop your urine flow during urination. You should concentrate on tightening the muscles in this area, and relaxing your thigh, back and abdominal muscles. Try to hold the muscle for at least 4 seconds before releasing and resting for 4 seconds. Repeat this 10 times. Once that becomes easy, increase your hold until you can contract the muscle for 8 seconds, then release for 8 seconds.
You can do these exercises anywhere: while waiting in line at the store, while watching TV or while waiting at a red light while driving. However, to be effective, Kegels should be done regularly. Dr. Kegel (who invented these exercises) advised doing 100 a day! Some women find it easier to do Kegels for five minutes in the morning upon awakening and again at night time.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.