Kegel exercises, also called pelvic floor exercises, help strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and bowels. By strengthening these muscles during pregnancy, you can develop the ability to relax and control the muscles in preparation for labor and birth.
Kegel exercises are highly recommended during the postpartum period to promote the healing of perineal tissues, increase the strength of the pelvic floor muscles, and help these muscles return to a healthy state, including increased urinary control.
How to do Kegel exercises
Imagine you are trying to stop the flow of urine or trying not to pass gas. When you do this, you are contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor and are practicing Kegel exercises. While doing Kegel exercises, try not to move your leg, buttock, or abdominal muscles. In fact, no one should be able to tell that you are doing Kegel exercises.
How often should I do Kegel exercises?
Kegel exercises should be done every day. We recommend doing five sets of Kegel exercises a day. Each time you contract the muscles of the pelvic floor, hold for a slow count of five and then relax. Repeat this 10 times for one set of Kegels.
- American Pregnancy Association. www.americanpregnancy.org/. Accessed 8/3/2011.
- National Institutes of Health. Pregnancy: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development health.nih.gov/. Accessed 8/3/2011.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 8/22/2011...#9701