Has your little bundle of joy arrived finally? Congratulations! You finally have your precious, little one in your arms! But are you looking forward to tone your pelvic muscles post delivery? If yes, then you can try doing kegel exercise.
Kegel exercise, also known as pelvic floor exercise, is the first exercise that a woman should do immediately after delivery. The exercise is named after Dr. Arnold Kegel (1), a gynecologist who invented the exercises as non-surgical treatment for pelvic relaxation. It wards off pelvic floor problems like urinary and fecal incontinence, problems that strike 70% of women during and after pregnancy.
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support the uterus, bowel, and bladder. During pregnancy, the pelvic floor of a woman gets weakened, causing urinary incontinence for months and even years after childbirth. Kegel exercises help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which in turn support the bladder, uterus, rectum and small intestine.
- Kegel exercises after delivery help to improve the circulation in the vaginal and rectal area, thereby keeping hemorrhoids(2)at the bay.
- Pregnant women who perform Kegel exercises regularly find it easier to give birth. It strengthens the muscles of the vaginal walls(3), helping you push the baby more effectively during labor.
- It speeds the healing process after a tear or episiotomy(4)during childbirth.
- It not only helps in bladder control, but also improves the muscle tone of the vagina, making sex more pleasurable.
[ Read: Episiotomy Care ]
Instructions For Practicing Kegel Exercise For Women After Delivery:
1. Find The Right Muscles:
Before beginning with the Kegel exercises, you need to identify your pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic muscles form the floor of your pelvic floor. Imagine that you are trying to stop the flow of the urine midstream and the passing of gas at the same time. If you are successful in both, then you have got the right muscles. If you are still not sure, then check by inserting a clean finger into your vagina before doing the exercises. If you can feel the pressure on the finger, then you have got the right muscles.
Once you have located your pelvic floor muscles, tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for a few seconds and then relax. Make sure you empty your bladder before doing your Kegel exercises. As the muscles start getting stronger, try to keep the muscles contracted for about 10 seconds. Aim to do two to three sets of Kegel exercises several times a day. If you are suffering from urinary incontinence, try to do a Kegel exercise while sneezing or coughing. It will keep you from leaking.
Focus is very important while performing Kegel exercisse. Focus on tightening the pelvic floor muscles only. Try not to move or squeeze your leg, abdominal muscles and buttock during the exercise. You can breathe freely during the exercises.
[ Read: Post Pregnancy Exercises For Stomach ]
When To Start Kegel Exercise After Delivery?
Post pregnancy, make Kegel exercises a part of your daily routine. These exercises are very discreet and can be performed at just about anytime, whether you are sitting at your desk, watching television or relaxing in your drawing room.
If regularly done, you can expect results within three to six months of exercising. Make Kegel exercises a permanent part of your daily routine for maximum benefits.
When Can You Stop Doing Kegel Exercises After Birth?
Do not stop doing the Kegel exercises. You have to continue doing the exercises regularly to ward of the incontinence as you age. Kegel exercises will also protect you from pelvic organ prolapsed(5), a health condition that causes the uterus, bladder and rectal tissue to sag and protrude into the vagina.
Remember, doing Kegel exercise while emptying the bladder can weaken the muscles, and incomplete emptying of the bladder can increase the risk of urinary tract infection. So, do not use Kegel exercise to start and stop your urine stream.
Take suggestions from your health care provider if you are facing trouble while doing Kegel exercises after birth.
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