Prenatal exercise offers many benefits to pregnant women, from feeling more energetic to making childbirth easier, and from reducing unpleasant pregnancy signs (back pain, morning sickness, and insomnia, to name a few), to lessening the chance of complications like gestational diabetes. When you think of pregnancy work outs, perhaps prenatal yoga, swimming, or jogging come to mind. But there is one little exercise that is especially useful.
Kegel exercises are simple – and whether you know it or not, I don’t doubt that you have already done your fair share of Kegels. These exercises, named after Dr Arnold Kegel, who first took note of them, involve tensing up the pelvic floor muscle and then relaxing it. Anyone who has ever had to hold up a pee for a while (and isn’t that everyone?) knows how to do Kegels. It is the same movement! Imagine you really have to go to the bathroom, and hold in that muscle. Now let go, and you have just completed a Kegel!
Unlike some other prenatal work outs, Kegels can be done anywhere, at any time. And they are suitable for women of all physical abilities. Doctors say that these little exercises can prevent urinary incontinence and pelvic prolapse. They are wonderful before birth, for women who are hoping to have greater muscle control to make childbirth less painful and the postpartum period pass more quickly. Nobody can see you are doing them, yet they can really go a long way in preparing your body for childbirth, and paving the way for an easier and speedier recovery.
The pelvic floor is weakened by pregnancy, birth (either vaginal or cesarean), and age. This means that it is not too late to start doing Kegel exercises after you have already given birth! Actually, Kegels are also beneficial for men – they can help cure incontinence and improve sexual function.
Every pregnant woman can squeeze (pun intended!) in some time for Kegel exercises. You can do them on your way to work, on the train or bus, in the queue at Walmart, or while chatting on the phone. Why don’t you give them a try, too?
At Trying To Conceive, we are passionate about reproductive health, fertility, pregnancy, and babies. Our personalized and free ovulation calendar can help you determine when you are at your most fertile, and our pregnancy signs page helps you navigate through your magical nine months!