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The Importance Of Kegels

Kegels are a special type of exercises that many doctors and nurses will tell you to do during your pregnancy and the birth of your baby. But many women don't even know what Kegel exercises are. Kegel exercises are designed to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which can become weakened by baby weight on your uterus during your pregnancy. They are named after the doctor who developed them – Arnold Kegel. During pregnancy and birth, the pubococcygeus muscles can become loose and stay that way afterwards if you don't use Kegels to tighten them. Some doctors believe that doing Kegels regularly can even make the pushing stage of labor a lot shorter. Many studies have shown that doing Kegels regularly can help to do the following: 

Strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, vagina and urethra.

Increase bladder control, which can decrease during pregnancy and following childbirth.

Prevent your bladder from leaking during pregnancy and after labor.

Make birth easier by relaxing muscles during your delivery.

Increase circulation throughout your pelvic area.

Promote faster perineum healing after childbirth, especially after an episiotomy.

Increase sexual satisfaction by improving the muscle tone of the vagina.

Prevent hemorrhoids after the birth of your baby.

How do I do Kegels?

First, locate the muscle. It's easiest to do while you're urinating – simply try and stop the flow of urine. The muscle you use to stop urine is the same one you'll use for Kegels. However, don't do Kegel exercises while you're urinating once you've located the muscle as it can cause urinary tract infections.

Practice your Kegels by contracting and releasing the muscle every day – start with 10 sets and slowly increase as the muscle gets stronger.

Once you can do basic Kegels, increase the skill level by imagining your pelvic floor as an elevator and tightening the muscle gradually (1st floor, 2nd floor) and then releasing (2nd floor, 1st floor).

Practice completely releasing the muscle – you'll need to release this muscle during childbirth. Focus on producing wavelike contractions to make your tissues more elastic.

To remember to do your sets of Kegels each day, use cues. For example, do Kegels while you're watching TV or getting ready for bed.


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