Kegel exercise can be done during pregnancy of after childbirth to try to prevent urinary incontinence. Kegel exercises were originally developed as a method of controlling incontinence (the inability to control urination) in women following childbirth.

Kegel is the name of a pelvic floor exercise, named after Dr. Kegel who discovered the exercise. These muscles are attached to the pelvic bone and act like a hammock, holding in your pelvic organs.

Many factors can weaken your pelvic floor muscles, including pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, ageing, excessive straining from constipation or chronic coughing, and being overweight.

What are Kegel exercises?

Kegel, or pelvic floor muscle exercises are done to strengthen the muscles which support the urethra, bladder, uterus and rectum. Do not contract your abdominal, thigh or buttocks muscles while performing the exercise.

Kegel is a part of a set of exercises required postnatally – Kegels (pelvic floor exercises)
– Abdonimal strengthening
– Arm and upper back stretch
– Sit-backs
– Aerobic activity

Identify right muscles

On approach is to sit on the toilet and start to urinate. Try to stop the flow of urine midstream by contracting your pelvic floor muscles. Repeat this action several times until you become familiar with the feel of contracting the correct group of muscles.

– Gently tighten and then relax the muscles of your perineum (pelvic floor muscles.)

– May be done lying down, sitting or standing.

– Start with 2 – 3 seconds per tightening (contractions), moving up to 5 and then to 10 seconds. End by holding your contraction for 20 seconds.

– Begin with 2- 3 contractions per session and build up to holding 5 contractions several times per day.

– Do not be discouraged if these are hard to do at first. They will become easier with practice.

When should I expect improvement in my symptoms?

It takes from six to twelve weeks for most women to notice a change in urine loss or improvement in pelvic floor muscles. Remember, if you do the exercises regularly you could see results sooner and prevent stress incontinence.

There are Kegel devices like cones, balls and weights for resistance exercises but not required postnatally.

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