Postpartum

Kegel exercises after childbirth

Kegel exercises for the pelvic floor are very important in the postpartum period when those muscles have been more than stressed by the passage of the baby.

Kegel exercises are highly recommended during pregnancy to strengthen the muscles in the pelvic area and to help relieve (and perhaps shorten) labor.

This good habit must not be abandoned after childbirth but must continue even after the birth of the child.

Why Do Kegel Exercises Postpartum?

Prevention of urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence is a fairly common occurrence among women who have had one or more vaginal deliveries.

The entire group of muscles that helped deliver the baby were put through a fair amount of wear during labor, and therefore lost some elasticity.

All of this leads to urinary incontinence which is the involuntary leakage of urine when the abdominal muscles find themselves under pressure such as from laughing or coughing or physical exertion.

Kegel exercises can help strengthen the pelvic area and counteract this problem that is a source of great discomfort for women.

Improving sexual relations

Many women suffer from pain during their first intercourse which occurs when sexual activity resumes after childbirth.

The reason for the pain could be related to the episiotomy, increased sensitivity, lack of lubrication, etc.

Kegel exercises can counteract these problems and restore relief to the couple, exercising and making the muscles concerned stronger. It is believed that performing these exercises can help reduce dyspareunia, or pain during sexual intercourse after childbirth.

How to do Kegel exercises?

Find the muscles

First of all, it is essential to be able to understand how to control the pelvic floor muscles in order to be able to exercise them. And it’s not always easy.

To identify the muscles, while you are peeing, stop the flow and then release: you used the pelvic floor muscles .

Note: You didn’t use your abs or glutes in this task. This is important because while exercising the perineum it is easy to “make a mistake” and contract the abs or buttocks which instead must remain relaxed.

Here is a short outline for Kegel exercises in two different versions.

1) Squeeze and release, up to 30 consecutive times. Initially you will have difficulty controlling your muscles. It takes a little patience and in a short time you will be mastering them precisely. 3/4 times a day.

Try doing the exercise lying flat on the bed, with your legs bent at 90 degrees. Remember to leave your buttocks and abs relaxed. Another position is for sitting, but once you learn it, you’ll also be able to stand while queuing at the supermarket!

2) Squeeze and hold the contraction. Holding the contraction is even more complicated. You will see that at the beginning you will be able to do the first exercise but not this one as if you were able to give a contraction impulse but not to maintain it.

Don’t worry, it’s normal and after some time you will succeed. Contract the perineal muscle for 10 seconds and then rest for another 10 seconds. The first few times it will be impossible to hold the contraction for 10 seconds. Start slowly, with two seconds of contraction and always 10 of pause and then increase.

The break is extremely important, respect it and… don’t overdo it: too much exercise risks weakening the muscle and having the opposite effect!

Effect of Kegel exercises

  • Improving sexual life and pleasure (these are muscles that contract during sexual intercourse)
  • Improve stress incontinence (small leaks of urine).
  • Prevents hemorrhoids
  • Improve circulation

More exercises

There are other types of exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor that you can always do at home in a simple way.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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