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How Do I Do Kegel Exercises?

I know I’m supposed to exercise the muscles down there, but is this really necessary, and how do I do it exactly?


I know I’m supposed to exercise the muscles down there, but is this really necessary, and how do I do it exactly?

The Bump Expert

I know I’m supposed to exercise the muscles down there, but is this really necessary, and how do I do it exactly?

Yes, it’s important -- both during and after your pregnancy. Kegel exercises (also lovingly called “Kegels”) work the pelvic floor, a muscular meshwork that forms a figure eight to support the pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus and vagina.

During pregnancy, as baby gets heavier, there’s added stress on the pelvic floor muscles, causing overstretching and weakness. And during a vaginal birth, those muscles are stretched even more, sometimes causing incontinence or peeing when you laugh, sneeze or cough.

Training your pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises (named for the doctor who developed them in the 1948) will help reduce your risk of stress incontinence, teach you to relax the right muscles during delivery, and (bonus!) increase vaginal muscle tone for more sexual pleasure. Here’s how to do them:

1. Pee Test Know you’re isolating a pelvic floor contraction correctly by trying to stop the flow of urine while you’re going to the bathroom. Stopped peeing? Those are the right muscles. (Just don’t do this too much with a full bladder because you could irritate the urinary tract -- it’s only for testing purposes.)

2. Fast Contracts Once you know how to contract the pelvic floor muscles, practice fast contractions, forcefully squeezing to draw the perineum inward and upward, then relaxing. Start with 10 repetitions and work your way up to 50.

3. Slow Holds As you get more advanced, hold the contraction for five counts and relax. Work your way up to 15 repetitions.

4. The Elevator Imagine an elevator inside your pelvis that you’re bringing upward with the slow and gradual contraction of your pelvic floor muscles, until it reaches the top floor and contracting as much as possible. Hold it for at least a full breath (work your way up to five full breaths) then release by lowering the elevator gradually, one floor at a time. Work your way up to 15 repetitions.

Want to get your partner in on the action? Do any of the above pelvic floor exercises using a finger or your partner's penis to give the muscles something to contract around, and helping you better sense just how hard you’re squeezing.

Plus, More from The Bump:

Most Dramatic Postbaby Body Changes

Rev Up Your Sex Life After Baby

20 Biggest New-Mom Surprises

Micky Marie Morrison, PT, ICPFE, creator of the CoreMama exercise program and author of Baby Weight: The Complete Guide to Prenatal and Post Partum Fitness

Q&A: Best kegel exercises?

I actually went to a pelvis-floor physical therapist as per my ob's reco. Here are the exercises I got: -flicks: Quickly squeeze and release. Start with 10, increase weekly -Hold for 5 seconds, rest for 5. Increase duration. -Demi pliet -- Small squats, as you go up, squeeze, start with 10 -Stairs -- Squeeze the pelvic floor while climbing stairs. -Lunges -- Squeeze as you go up -flicks -- finish with 10 I have to say progress is slow but my pelvic floor muscles were just stretched to no end after 22 hour labor. I even have trouble with some pea leakage so you can imagine.

anence |

Q&A: Best kegel exercises?

Thanks for all of the ideas and suggestions. I have learned the hard way that I should've been doing them from the moment i found out I was prego. I am a runner and was planning on doing my 3rd half marathon in october (i had my DD april 27th). I was so excited to get back into the running. UNTIL, i tried to run. I felt great but peed everywhere uncontrollably. I even tried a maxi pad. It's like I have NO bladder control at all. So, I am having to stop running and force myself to remember to do the kegels!

tedandgayle |

Q&A: Best kegel exercises?

I went to see a physical therapist and she gave me great advice and follow up, it really put my mind at ease and she gave me a very well written follow up kegel routine, but I've found I like the tab-it video for when it comes to keeping me on track, it's very attentive of your posture too so great for training yourself to come out of this upright too, a nice perk needed when breastfeeding I reckon. See a PT for the benefits of a thorough check up (the OBs/Midwifes aren't the best option here I feel) and use the DVD to get yourself well. You can do it and we're lucky we have the knowledge to help ourselves through prolapse now, unlike so many women before us.

clanoinc |

Q&A: Best kegel exercises?

FYI, the video mentioned above is "hab-it" not "tab-it." I'm a physical therapist myself and had some bladder prolapse after my 1st was born and this program was recommended by a PT friend who specializes in women's health. Doing the DVD workouts made a huge difference--I could finally run a bit without feeling like my bladder was going to fall out! Now, 3 years later, the prolapse has returned following the birth of DD. I just restarted the program at 10 weeks post-delivery (finally was able to find the time!) and can already feel a difference after 1 week. Highly recommend if you have issues with incontinence and/or prolapse!

Momxtwo |