How to do kegels

by Dr Melissa West on August 16, 2012

Your pelvic-floor muscles act as a sling for the bladder, uterus and rectum. One of the most important long-term health recommendations for healing and recovering after birth is to do Kegel exercises. By strengthening the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy you can develop the ability to relax and control the muscles in preparation for labour and birth. Kegels help keep your pelvic-floor muscles strong during pregnancy, help get them back in shape after delivery and possibly prevent urinary incontinence.

1. Identify the muscles

First you need to find your pelvic floor muscles.

Try to tighten your muscles around your vagina and back passage and lift up, as if you’re stopping yourself passing water and wind at the same time.

A quick way of finding the right muscles is by trying to stop the flow of urine when you’re in the toilet. Don’t do this regularly because you may start retaining urine and develop a bladder infection.

Once you’ve found the muscles, make sure you relax and empty your bladder completely.

2. Contract the muscles correctly

The movement is an upward and inward contraction, not a bearing-down effort.

When you first start the exercises, check that you are doing them correctly. Put your hands on your abdomen and buttocks to make sure you can’t feel your belly, thighs, or buttocks moving.

Don’t hold your breath. You should be able to hold a conversation at the same time, or try counting aloud while you’re doing the exercises.
Don’t tighten the tummy, thigh or buttock muscles – you’ll be exercising the wrong muscle groups.
Don’t squeeze your legs together.
In my prenatal yoga video we explore kegel exercises in greater detail. You can purchase it in my shop: Click Here

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