Your pelvic floor is weakened during pregnancy, which can lead to some undesirable side affects. The Kegel exercise can help combat this and strengthen your pelvic floor.
About The Kegel Exercise
Arnold Kegel also gave his name to pelvic floor exercises he invented. These exercises are so important for pregnant women and all women who, for whatever reason, may suffer urinary continence. Kegel exercises can be considered synonymous with pelvic floor contraction.
That’s right, these pelvic exercises, which are very simple and sometimes we perform them unconsciously, were discovered by Arnold Kegel in 1948. With these exercises Kegel found the benefit of improving symptoms in patients with urine leakage.
What are these Kegel exercises?
Kegel exercises consist of putting the pelvic floor to work by contracting the pelvis. To conduct the Kegel exercise simply contract the muscles you use when trying to hold back urine for 5 seconds, and then relax.
Pelvic floor muscles:
The pelvis is the part of the body located between the hip bones. The pelvic muscle extends from the pubis to the coccyx.
Pelvic floor muscles are two muscles; one stretches like a hammock, and the other has a triangular shape. Both avoid the involuntary flow of urine and feces.
There is a simple way to understand the functioning of a Kegel exercise, and indeed, sometimes unconsciously we perform pelvic movements in our daily lives.
The most practical example I can mention is when you really have to pee, but have to hold it. In some way you are working the pelvic muscle to retain or prevent dropping urine. That’s when you are exercising the pelvic floor. Therefore the pelvic floor muscles behave like any other muscle. Fortunately, when these muscles get weak, they can be strengthened by Kegel exercises.
Why is it so important to practice Kegel exercises during pregnancy?
Although sounds like a joke, if you practice Kegel exercises, you can laugh and cough more naturally.
The pelvic floor is without a doubt, a muscle that is highly involved in the process of pregnancy. During pregnancy and even just before labor and delivery, the pelvic floor is affected by the growing uterus.
The pelvic floor pressure causes a sense of urinary incontinence, an “inability to stop the outflow of urine,” in many women.
During pregnancy, the need to urinate usually increases. This is due to the growth of the uterus, which compresses the bladder, decreasing its capacity and triggering the need to urinate with smaller volumes of urine. Towards the end of pregnancy, the uterine pressure is greater and therefore produces involuntary urine output.
During labor and delivery your pelvic muscles also have an important job. If you do not exercise these muscles, you could have a kind of post-partum trauma, which causes an inability to hold urine output. On the other hand, if you practice kegel during pregnancy, you will have an easier delivery with fewer tendencies to undergo a pelvic tear.
How and when I can do these Kegel exercises?
You do not need any special equipment, or any preparation for these exercises. Anyone can do these exercises, no matter their age or physical condition.
You can practice Kegel exercises anytime of the day, while you are standing, sitting, watching TV, chatting with someone, or in any other position. I suggest practicing these exercises at least 3 times a day, with 20 to 25 contractions. You can also try practicing while you are urinating by stoping the stream and then re-releasing.
I like to laugh a lot. This was a tragedy for me during pregnancy because I had to urinate more frequently, and laughing would make me have to go pee. On several occasions I avoided being in meetings where people laughed a lot because I could not hold my urine. Kegel exercises were a godsend for me being able to control my urine flow.
Here are some other tips you might consider when practicing Kegel exercises during pregnancy:
- Maintain a healthy weight during your pregnancy and preferably be monitored by your doctor. Being overweight causes pressure on the bladder, and consequently there can be urinary incontinence. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy is not good for your baby.
- Maintain a balanced diet with plenty of fluids and fiber. This will prevent constipation, and weaken the bladder muscles.
- If you already have urinary incontinence, do not worry, you can start at anytime with the Kegel exercise, it is never too late.
Remember, exercise and pregnancy are two things that get along with each other.
You should look for safe exercises during pregnancy. Practicing a workout routine is normally considered beneficial for pregnant moms. However, you check with your doctor before starting any kind of exercise while you are pregnant.