What are Kegels and why should everyone be doing them?
A Kegel is a targeted exercise to help tighten your pelvic floor muscles (the ones that can stop your pee mid-flow!). They’re named after Arnold Kegel, a gynaecologist who introduced the concept of Kegel exercises for women in the ‘40s to help with urinary incontinence.
The best thing about Kegels is that they’re super discrete and there’s no need for any sports gear. No one even has to know you’re doing them! So you can fit in sessions on the tube, at your desk, watching TV… however and whenever you want.
Anyone and everyone can do them. But during pregnancy is a prime time to hone your Kegel skills, as they can massively improve the strength of your vagina and even lead to an easier delivery. They can also help tackle urinary stress incontinence; that little issue of pee dribbles if things get a bit stretched out after birth, which effects up to two thirds of women during and after pregnancy.
How to do Kegel exercises during pregnancy:
- Firstly, locate the right muscles. To do this, stop urination midstream (don’t make this a habit as not fully emptying your bladder can cause urinary tract infections)
- Squeeze these muscles and hold for three seconds, then relax for three seconds.
- Repeat for 10-15 sets, at least three times a day. Gradually increase the length of time you hold each contraction as your muscle strength improves.
- Make sure you squeeze and lift without using any other muscles – your tummy and bum should remain relaxed throughout.
If you keep up your sessions, you can expect to see and feel results within a few weeks! They not only help manage bladder control, but can also improve overall muscle tone to make sex more enjoyable.
Don’t be embarrassed to ask your doctor for help if you’re having trouble getting to grips with it. And set a reminder on your phone at specific times if you forget to do them regularly. Why not give them a go right now? Once you get into a routine, it’s one of the easiest exercises you’ll ever do, and the benefits of Kegels are massive!