Kegel exercises, commonly referred to as pelvic muscle exercises, are used to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Strengthening the muscles in the vaginal area, stopping inadvertent gas or faeces passage, and enhancing orgasms can help prevent incontinence.
Women who use Kegel exercises may experience a smoother delivery because they might assist a woman manage her pelvic muscles during labour and delivery.
Studies show that women who regularly execute Kegel exercises have a much lower risk of faecal and urinary incontinence throughout pregnancy and after birth.
Kegel Exercises for Postpartum
Photo by Mikhail Nilov
You might be able to start doing Kegels a few days after your baby is born if your vaginal birth goes smoothly, but you must first feel prepared. If you experienced complications during a vaginal birth or had a c-section, wait until the doctor gives you the all-clear.
When to Start Kegel Exercise After Delivery
It is not necessary to conduct Kegels on a regular basis. Some doctors recommend performing Kegels every day, while others suggest doing them at least twice a week.
There are various options for the quantity and frequency of Kegels. Your doctor may prescribe doing 50 squeezes throughout the day, ten sets of Kegels three times per day, or beginning with twice-daily practice and working up to three times per day.
Kegels After Birth With Stitches
If you had an uneventful pregnancy and vaginal birth, exercise can typically be resumed a few days following delivery, or as soon as you feel ready.
If you had a C-section, substantial vaginal surgery, or a challenging birth, talk to your doctor about the optimum time to start an exercise regimen.
Kegel Exercises in Postpartum: Breastfeeding and Exercising
Previous studies show that moderate exercise has no effect on the quantity or quality of breast milk produced or on your kid’s growth. If you’re nursing, you just need to make sure you’re getting enough water while working out. Keep a water bottle close by while exercising and take frequent sips.
According to some studies, intense exercise may cause lactic acid to accumulate in breast milk, giving it a sour taste that a baby might not enjoy, but this is probably unusual.
If you want to prioritise exercise throughout the first few months of breastfeeding, think about feeding your baby before working out, or pump before working out and feed your baby the breast milk you just pumped afterwards.
Benefits of Kegel Exercise After Delivery
Image Source: iStock
The benefits of kegel exercise for postpartum women include:
- Improves blood flow to the area, which helps the pelvic muscles recuperate after being weakened, overworked, or damaged during birth.
- Management of the bladder after delivery
- Kegels are advantageous for women who gave birth both naturally and through a caesarean section (C-section)
- Enhances the enjoyment of sexual activity after having birth. Stronger pelvic floor muscles may help to intensify orgasms and sensations by toning the vagina.
- Help with the loose ligaments. During pregnancy, ligaments stretch and loosen to make room for the developing fetus, which puts tension on the pelvic floor muscles. By making the pelvic floor muscles stronger, you can protect the ligaments, stop incontinence, and stop vaginal prolapse.
- Avoid having the prolapse of your pelvic organs. The muscles in the pelvic floor weaken after several deliveries and may stop being able to support the bladder, uterus, and rectum.
Regular exercise after giving birth can:
- Help women lose weight, especially when combined with calorie restriction
- Improve the condition of your heart
- Build and keep abdominal muscles.
- Boost your energy level
Living an active lifestyle can also be beneficial to:
- Decrease tension
- Encourage improved sleep
- Symptomatically lessen postpartum depression
- Even better, including physical activity in your daily routine enables you to provide your child with a positive role model for the present and future.
Kegel Exercises: How to Start and Some Pointers
To locate the pelvic floor muscles, try to stop the urine flow in mid-flow. Additionally, you can locate them by inserting your finger within the vagina and contracting the muscles around it. These muscles are the focus of kegel exercises.
- With an empty bladder, the pelvic floor muscles should be contracted for 5 seconds, then let go for 5 seconds.
- On the first day, try to complete 10 to 20 repetitions.
- Up to ten seconds may be worked at once.
- Three sets of ten repetitions per day.
- Do not hold your breath or tighten your buttocks, thighs, or abdominal muscles.
- Avoid performing Kegel exercises while peeing since this can weaken the muscle and raise the risk of urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Avoid performing Kegel exercises too often because doing so can need you to exert more effort when urinating or using the restroom.
- Women who already have urine incontinence help stop urine leakage by clenching their pelvic floor muscles.
- Don’t go too far. It’s normal to feel a little sore in the pelvic area after starting these exercises, but if you feel pain, stop and see your doctor.
It’s important to carry out these workouts frequently. If you find yourself forgetting to do your Kegels, there are applications you can download that will guide you through different training sessions and serve as a reminder.
For some women, it can be challenging to identify the proper muscles to engage the pelvic floor in the first place. Your doctor may advise electrical stimulation, which contracts the appropriate muscles with painless electric currents, or biofeedback training, which helps track which muscles are being used.
Most healthy women are advised by the Department of Health and Human Services (through Mayo Clinic) to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week after giving birth, ideally spread out over the course of the week. Consider the following suggestions:
- Spend some time getting ready and winding down.
- Slowly pick up the pace as you go along.
- Get plenty of water.
- Wear nursing pads if you are breastfeeding in case your breasts leak. Wear a bra with support as well.
- Stop exercising if you feel pain.
Here are some examples of kegel exercise after delivery from Allina Health.
Image Source: iStock
Kegel Exercises After Delivery – Step-by-Step Guide
The day after your baby is delivered, you can begin this exercise regimen. Perform each workout twice every day at first. Add one more repetition to each set every day until you are doing 10 repetitions of each exercise twice a day.
Breathing deeply and tensing the abdominal wall
As you lie on your back or side, keep your knees bent.
- Deeply inhale using your nose. Embrace the rising of your abdominal wall.
- Lips slightly apart, exhale through your mouth and tighten your abdominal wall.
- Keep blowing until your lungs are fully empty.
- To avoid feeling dizzy, avoid taking multiple deep breaths in quick succession.
- Bring your toes as close to you as you can.
- You need to bring your foot down.
- Before continuing on, take a break. If pointing your toes downward causes cramping, pull your toes up and relax.
Foot and ankle circles
- Turn each foot to the right, then to the left, in a broad, unhurried circle. This exercise is excellent for improving blood flow to the legs.
- Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet resting on the bed or floor.
- Tilt your pelvis back by placing your lower back flat against the mattress or floor.
- Your abs and lower body should be tensed.
- This exercise strengthens your abdominal muscles while easing back pain.
How exercise can help relieve postpartum depression?
All You Need to Know About Postpartum Check Up
Is It Possible to Tighten My Vagina After Giving Birth? 11 Exercises and Tips That Can Help
Kegel Exercises for Postpartum – 3 to 6 Weeks After Birth
- Return to your usual schedule gradually. If something seems like too much work, don’t do it.
- When lifting anything, especially older kids, bend your knees to help prevent back injuries.
- Avoid doing any heavy lifting or vacuuming for at least six weeks.
- You should wait at least six weeks before beginning exercises like running, sit-ups, and leg lifts unless your doctor provides the all-clear.
Before doing sit-ups or leg lifts, check to determine if your abdominal muscles have separated:
- Lay on your back with your knees bent.
- One arm should be extended toward your knees while you contract your abdominal muscles and lift your head and shoulders.
- The fingers of your second hand should be placed just below your navel. You’ll feel your muscles tensing up. Any spaces between the two portions of your abdominal muscles that are three finger widths or wider must be filled with a specialized exercise. The description of this exercise is as follows.
Exercises to prevent abdominal muscles from separating:
- As you lay on your back, your knees should be bent and spaced 12 to 16 inches apart.
- Cross your hands across your midsection to support your abdominal muscles.
- Take a deep breath in. As you exhale, raise your head toward your chest by gently drawing the muscles apart.
- Then, following the breath, relax.
- Perform a set of these exercises twice per day.
- Start with two reps and add one each day after that. Aim for two 10-rep sessions each day. When there is less than two finger widths between your fingers, you can start performing activities that build your abdominal muscles, such as curl-ups and sit-ups.
This article was written by Margaux Dolores and republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.