You must be familiar with this word, right? Kegel exercises are not something new.
Those who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or just delivered are encouraged to practise them as they can provide a wide-range of health benefits.
This particular set of exercises was named after a gynaecologist, Arnold Kegel. The goal is to provide strength to your pelvic floor muscles by contracting and relaxing it within a short period of time.
Pelvic floor muscles are important to support a variety of internal structures such as:
- Urinary bladder
- Anal sphincter
During pregnancy, your foetus would add extra weight on your pelvic floor muscles.
If they are not up for the job, you would experience incontinence which can be mild or serious depending on the situation you are in.
When you cough, sneeze or try to do something that would increase the pressure inside your abdomen, you would notice an occasional leakage of urine.
This can happen if your pelvic floor muscles aren’t able to support your bladder the way they do when you are not pregnant.
Going into labour, how can kegel exercises prepare you for it
During labour, there are a few physiological changes that would happen to make room for the baby to pass through.
According to research, about a third of women would experience pelvic floor muscles tear during birth. This is not something that can be seen easily as it doesn’t bleed or look different from the outside. However, you can experience postpartum loss of bladder control.
If the injury to the pelvic floor muscles are serious, then it can cause postpartum fecal incontinence. You can’t hold your crap like you used to! These are two problems which we hope to never encounter during the postpartum period.
How can we prevent that from happening? By practising kegel exercises regularly.
Studies have shown that women who did kegel exercises can reduce the risk of developing pelvic floor muscle issues such as incontinence. Kegel exercises can also reduce the active phase of labour making it easier for you to give birth.
If you are not pregnant, shouldn’t you practise this kind of exercises? Well it’s up to you but even if you are not planning to get pregnant anytime soon, kegel exercises can give you other forms of benefits.
By doing kegel exercises, you can boost your sexual pleasure and health. It has been shown that women who practise kegel exercises can reach orgasm more easily than the other women.
When should I do kegels?
There are no rules pertaining to how early you should start doing kegels but as a rule of thumb, the earlier you start, the greater the benefits.
Kegels do not cater specifically to pregnant women. You can even do it before you are pregnant or after you have delivered.
Right after delivery, it might be uncomfortable for you to do it since your perineum is still numb but over the next few weeks, it would get so much better.
Within a few months, you should see some improvement to your bladder control if kegels are to be done regularly and correctly. As you were encouraged to commit your whole life to kegels, it would be best if you can make it fun.
Take home message
Kegel exercises can be one of the ways to conduct your life healthily. Its benefits are not restricted to the pregnant women population but all.
Combine this with other healthy practises, you are guaranteed a much healthier and happier life.
If you aren’t sure how to proceed, talk to your experts.
MommyDaddy&i is the latest initiative to create the best possible platform for new and expectant parents to acquire knowledge, engage and share the experience of pregnancy and parenting. Visit our Facebook page for more info.