Feeling Fit

Kegel Exercises: How-Tos

You can do Kegels during and after pregnancy. Here's how: Tighten the pelvic-floor muscles as if you were stopping the flow of urine. Hold as long as you can for up to ten seconds, and then release. The strength of the pelvic floor muscles varies widely, particularly during pregnancy. Try this ten times a day in sets of 5 to 10 repetitions. You can do these exercises while watching TV, waiting for a red light to change or standing in line.

Also try the "elevator," a more advanced exercise using the same muscles. Slowly contract the muscles upward from the base to the top of the vagina as though moving an elevator up floor by floor. Then slowly release down to the "basement."

Benefits
Kegels strengthen the pelvic-floor muscles, which support the uterus. The exercise helps prevent hemorrhoids and the leakage of urine. It can also intensify sexual responsiveness.

Precautions
Doing Kegels by starting and stopping urination is a way to identify the correct muscles but is not recommended on a routine basis. You may not empty your bladder completely, which could result in an infection.

 

For more exercises that can be done while pregnant and after birth, read The Gentle Mom-to-Be Workout.

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