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Keep Up Your Kegels

Keep Up Your Kegels

With nine months of pregnancy and the delivery of a baby, many women find their vaginal muscles loosen, and they may experience urinary incontinence or hemorrhoids. It is recommended that all pregnant women do Kegel exercises to prepare them for the birth of their baby, and continue them soon after delivery.

Kegels are named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, who developed the exercise. As the muscles of the pelvic floor become more conditioned during Kegels, they are stronger and more flexible. The chance of perineum tearing and damage during labor is reduced, since your perineum has been gently stretched for your entire pregnancy. Also, there is less chance you'll need for an episiotomy following delivery. If you do need to undergo an episiotomy or your perineum does tear during labor, you will have a quicker recovery if you've kept up your Kegels during pregnancy. Your risk of developing hemorrhoids is greatly reduced, as your rectal area benefits from increased circulation during the exercises.

Some women find they have urinary incontinence during pregnancy from the weight of the baby pressing on the bladder, and Kegels can eliminate this or at least drastically decrease it. This loss of bladder control can occur during crying, laughing or sneezing, and can be very embarrassing

The risk of developing a condition known as prolapse, which is the uterus or other organs falling out of place after delivery, can also be greatly reduced in women. One of the other benefits of Kegel exercises is increased sexual pleasure. It's important to keep up your Kegels during pregnancy and after birth so you can enjoy a normal sex life with your partner.

To ensure that you're doing Kegel exercises properly, try stopping in the middle of urination. Hold it and identify the muscles you are using these are the muscles you will use to strengthen the pelvic floor. If you feel aches or muscle tiredness during your Kegel exercises, this is a sign that you are squeezing the wrong muscles.

Physicians recommend that you do around 200 basic Kegel exercises per day. You can do them anywhere in the car on your way to a doctor's appointment, or standing with your baby in the living room. You can try variations on the basic Kegels: sustained Kegels involve holding the muscles for ten seconds, then releasing. You can do progressive Kegels, where you squeeze and hold for five counts, squeeze harder for five counts, then release a little and hold for five seconds, release more and hold for five seconds.

Be patient with your Kegel exercises. It will take at least six weeks to notice any changes with incontinence, even at a rate of 200 per day. If you're pregnant, you should begin doing Kegels at the beginning of pregnancy. Don't wait until your final month of pregnancy to start, as you won't see any of the benefits during labor. If you're diligent about keeping up your Kegels, you'll notice many benefits over time.


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