Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor muscle training exercises, strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, supporting the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum. These exercises are beneficial for pregnant women as they help in staying fit during pregnancy. Training your body before giving birth can tone the body accordingly.
5 Benefits of Kegel Exercises
Let’s jump (just kidding, don’t jump during pregnancy), let’s get to the benefits of these amazing Kegel exercises for pregnant women-
#1 Easy Labour and Childbirth
By doing kegel exercises during pregnancy, you can make your pregnancy experience less painful. These exercises involve postures and stretches that keep the pelvic muscles active which further ease the birth process. Kegel exercises train your body and give you the ability to control them during labour.
#2 Bladder Control
One of the things which continuously bothers you during pregnancy is the frequent urge to urinate. It happens because, during pregnancy, your uterus expands and puts pressure on the bladder. Frequent urination is one among 8 common signs of early pregnancy and is even considered a healthy sign. Exercising the pelvic muscles will strengthen them and will improve the function of the rectal sphincter and urethra.
#3 Prevents Those Little Leaks After Child Birth
As your muscles have gone through a lot of exertion while giving birth, the muscles tend to become weak and even loosen a bit. If you keep practicing Kegels, it will help your muscles tighten up and spare you those unwanted leaks while sneezing and coughing.
#4 Healing Your Pelvic Muscles
After pregnancy, you have to give your strength back and proper time to heal. Kegels helps in increasing blood circulation and will help in healing perineal muscles faster. It will also help stimulate the growth of new muscle tissues, ensuring healing of the muscles which might have torn in the process.
#5 Get Back In Shape
Kegels will surely help you to get back in shape post-pregnancy. You will be able to get back to your pre-baby shape and fitness faster. It will also help in toning vaginal muscles.
Kegels benefit you during or after pregnancy, but their good effects stay with you for a lifetime. Try them for a week, and you can feel the improvements.
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10 Kegel Exercises During Pregnancy (Step by Step Guide)
#1 Tailor Sit
Tailor sit is the most basic and easy to do kegel exercise in pregnancy.
- Sit on the floor with your back straight.
- Bring the soles of your feet together.
- Gently lean towards the front until you are feeling a slight stretch in your hip and thigh muscles. Your back should remain straight. Do not press your legs with your hands.
- Hold and count to five.
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#2 Tailor Press
Tailor press reduces back pain and improves the circulation of blood. By doing so, the baby gets some extra space as the uterus moves forward.
- Sit on the floor with your back straight.
- Bring the soles of your feet together.
- Place your hands under the ankle and pull them a bit towards your body.
- Place your hands under the knees and inhale.
- Press your knees downwards.
- Push your hands against the knees and push them a bit in the upward direction.
- Hold for 10 seconds.
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#3 Garland Pose/Pelvic Floor Exercise for Pregnant Woman
Pelvic floor exercises are super beneficial to prevent urinary infections and pelvic floor dysfunctions during pregnancy.
- Sit on the floor (refer to picture for position) and bend a bit forwards.
- Squeeze and identify the muscles. Do find the muscle, squeeze and hold as if you were stopping the urine in mid.
- Once you identify the muscles, contract and hold the squeeze for 10 seconds, relax for 10 seconds.
- Repeat this process 10-15 times a day regularly for three days.
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#4 Squeeze The Finger
By squeezing the finger exercise, you can prepare yourself for labor and birth by controlling the contraction and relaxation of muscles.
- Put a finger in your vagina. (Make you clean your hands before inserting)
- Touch the abdomen, tighten and hold by squeezing your muscles as if you were stopping the urine in mid.
- You will feel a tightening as if your finger is sucked inside.
- Breathe in a relaxed manner, slowly.
- Do this twice or thrice.
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#5 Pelvic Tilt
One of the beneficial kegal exercises during pregnancy to keep abdominal tension at bay is the Pelvic tilt. Kind of similar to angry cat yoga, it has shown wonders in pregnant women.
- Lie down flat with your back straight against the floor.
- Tighten and by stiffening your buttocks and abdominal muscles.
- Gently move your pelvis upwards.
- Hold it for about 10 seconds.
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Performing squats keep the pelvic muscles in motion during pregnancy so that they do not get weak. Squats also help to open up the hips. One does not need to do it with weights during pregnancy. The first stage of pregnancy is the perfect time for squats.
- Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Your toes should point upwards.
- You can stretch your hands outwards for balancing support.
- Move down and stand in a squat position. (Go down only till you are comfortable)
- Next, return to the previous basic position. Start squeezing your glutes as you return.
- Repeat 10-15 times a day.
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Changes in hormones may lead to breathing issues in pregnant women. At times it may seem that you can not get enough air. During pregnancy, the diaphragm gets pushed by the uterus, limiting the lungs' ability to breathe.
- Breathe normally initially.
- Now, slowly take a deep breath. (Breath through your nose)
- As your lungs fill up with air, let your stomach and chest rise.
- Exhale out completely (Through mouth this time)
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#8 Reclined Cobbler Pose
There is a lot of pressure on the pelvic floor during pregnancy, especially during the last 9th month. Reclined cobbler pose relaxes the muscles and reduces tension in the lower body.
- Using a pillow and block for support, sit erect comfortably.
- Bring your feet soles together.
- Fold your legs inwards.
- Slightly press your knees down. ( they should be away from each other)
- Stay in the position only till you are comfortable.
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Can bridge exercise make a difference in your pregnancy experience? Yes indeed! It is known to strengthen the hips muscles, and since lying down flat during the third trimester should be avoided,
- Place your hands on the floor wall and stand with an arm's distance to support the wall.
- Keep your feet closer so that they touch each other.
- Lift the heel slightly and bend your knees a bit.
- You can take support of a swiss ball too for balance.
- Lower down according to your comfort and stay in that position for about 45 seconds or so. Don’t force yourself to stick to the time. Suit yourself as per your comfort.
- Repeat three sets.
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#10 Bird Dog
Bird dog is a helpful exercise to engage all the muscles in one go, including the pelvic floor—an excellent exercise for the second trimester.
- Take a table position with both your hands and legs on the floor. Your hands should be under your shoulders. Place your knees under the hips.
- Keep your back erect.
- Lift one of your hands and the opposite leg. Stretch them.
- When you feel the weight of the belly, move the hand and leg inside and out.
- Perform 10-15 reps.
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Strengthening certain muscles during pregnancy becomes very important, and You Must take extra care for smooth delivery. kegel exercise in pregnancy prepare the body and reduce labour pain.
Apart from that, they also increase the core strength but initially, it might not be easy to hold the positions or carry on the exercise for the standard time, so be it. Increase the time as per your comfort level but do not force anything on your body.
Kegel exercises will help you. It has no side effects, but of course, when you are pregnant, you must discuss every change you make in your routine with your doctor and do it only with their permission. Also, it is important to know if you are doing it the right way. Consult an expert for the same. Pregnancy is a very sensitive stage, do not risk anything by doing it with half knowledge.