It is part of a woman’s responsibility to stay healthy and strong all throughout her pregnancy. The muscles that get affected most during labor are the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. These muscles have to be conditioned to speed up her postpartum recovery but more importantly to be able to use these muscles efficiently during labor.
During pregnancy the added weight of the baby in her uterus produce pressure on the pelvic floor muscle and may allow it to sag. Needless to mention the relaxing effect on the muscles and joints brought about by the hormones produced during pregnancy. Exercise can help lessen the heavy throbbing feeling brought about by her present condition and even during post partum.
This simple exercise was invented by a German gynecologist, Dr. Arnild H. Kegel (1894-1981). It involves the pelvic floor muscles or what you call the pubococcygeal muscle. This muscle has been commonly referred to as the kegel muscle. At the time Dr. Kegel discovered this exercise, he did not realize the many benefits it brought. Now we know the extreme importance of this exercise in pregnancy as well as after. It is a must that should be taught in every childbirth preparation class even if no other exercise is taught. This exercise must be a life time practice done by women and even men.
Here are just a few reasons why the exercise is so important to perform.
1. It strengthens and tones the pelvic floor muscles allowing them to stretch comfortably
in labor. Not allowing it to be cut during and episiotomy.
3. Improves circulation of blood in that area.
2. The laboring woman learns how to control the pelvic floor area allowing them to relax
during labor thus minimizing the pain and making birth easier and quicker.
3. Relieves pelvic floor congestion especially during the third trimester when her baby is
4. It is responsible for the female sexual climax as control increases stimulation during
love making and enhances pleasure for your husbands as well.
5. Strengthening and toning of these muscles have helped minimize incontinence
especially in older women and also help prevent bladder and uterine prolapse. There is
also less probability in developing urinary track infection amongst them.
6. For men, this exercise can likewise help in incontinence especially among older men
and help control the muscle used in the erection of their penis.
How to locate the muscle.
The kegel muscle is like a hammock that carries the bladder and uterus of a woman. It is connected infront of the pubic bone and runs all the way to the back on the coccyx or tail bone. To find the muscle, try to stop your urine midstream. If you are able to do it, then you have found the muscle. If that does not work, it may help to insert a finger inside your vagina and to squeeze. This gives the women a good sense of control and strength of the muscles. You may also involve your husband by contracting your pelvic floor muscles during love making and getting feed back from him.
How the exercise is done.
It is very easy to do but also very easy to forget. One would have to incorporate it in her lifestyle. It might help to cut out “stick on notes” with the printed word, “kegel” and to put them in various parts of your house that you frequently visit to remind you to do it, like your bathroom mirror, your kitchen sink, your dinning table, and even in your office table and the dash board of your car. You can decide to do it every time you are driving while waiting on a stop light or even every time after you urinate .
There are two ways you could do this exercise. You may do this staggered or opt to do it straight in one sitting. However, if you chose the latter one, you may do this only after you have gotten used to the exercise after a week or two. If this is the first time you will do this exercise, I suggest you do it staggered. It is a muscle and it could get sore if you push yourself to do too much at one time. You can do ten kegel’s five times spread out during the day and slowly increase the number of times per week, maybe increasing it to fifty every week, until you arrive at two hundred times per day. Two hundred times would be hard to count so I suggest for you to time yourself for five minutes doing it straight, but do this only after a few weeks of trying it out. Whatever works best for you, either staggered or straight, is fine so long as you do this exercise daily for life. You can do this exercise in any position, sitting down, standing up or laying down. No one will ever know.
The condition of your pelvic floor muscles are of a life time significance. So kegel fifty to one hundred times daily for life!