Pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy

pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy

What are Pelvic floor exercises?

Broad sling of muscles, ligaments and sheet-like tissues that stretch from the pubic bone in front to the base of your spine at the back are known as your pelvic floor. This pelvic floor supports the bladder, bowel and uterus and also gives you control over when you empty your bladder and bowel. A weak pelvic floor makes it difficult to squeeze muscles and sphincters at the bottom of your bladder to prevent urine from escaping. It also affects your vaginal muscles which may cause you to find sex less satisfying if you have a weak pelvic floor.

Why should you do Pelvic Floor exercises during pregnancy?

The pregnancy adds additional pressure on the pelvic floor.

Pelvic Floor Exercises which are also known as Kegels, when done correctly often are beneficial as they:

  • Help you control urine from escaping during pregnancy and post the baby.
  • Support the additional weight of pregnancy
  • Increase blood flow to the perineum and helps heal it post delivery
  • Makes sex life more satisfying as it increases the likelihood of orgasms

When should I start my Kegel exercises during pregnancy?

It’s never too soon to start doing your pelvic floor exercises. The earlier the better and the greater the benefits that you will get out of it. After the baby comes, you can restart your Kegel routine almost immediately. Kegels should be built into your routine, which is not difficult at all since they can be done almost anywhere and while doing anything, including when you are feeding your baby! Kegels promote healing and better muscle tone post delivery. In fact, many healthcare professionals will suggest doing Kegels long after for good pelvic floor health.

By doing Kegel exercises during pregnancy, you can exercise your pelvic floor by doing the following:

  1. Sit, stand or lie in a comfortable position
  2. Squeeze and lift pelvic floor muscles (it will feel like you are stopping urine midstream and preventing gas from passing)
  3. Hold for 10 secs and then relax for a few seconds. Do 10 repetitions of this.
  4. Try and do 3-4 sets of 10 contractions each day.
  5. Remember when exercising not to – pulling in your upper tummy, squeezing legs together, tightening your buttocks and holding your breath.

Initially you may not feel much when doing the exercises sitting down so you may want to try them lying down.

How often should kegels be done during pregnancy?

The recommended Kegel exercises for pregnancy should be:

  • You start out by tightening your pelvic muscles for about five seconds, then relaxing them for the next five seconds. Repeat this four or five times in a row and repeat this a few times a day.
  • Once you get used to the above routine, start holding your muscles tight for longer — make it go upto 10 seconds at a time — and do more repetitions.
  • Finally, build this routine up tothree sets of 20 Kegels every day.

Note: Don’t get disheartened if you’re not close to this goal when you start: You must remember, these are just muscles and very like any other muscles in your body, they have the ability to learn. Given time, persistence and repetition, they only get stronger.