Art of the Kegel

What is a kegel exercise? Where do I do it? How do I know if I’m doing it right? Even if you know, are you working this muscle regularly? It doesn’t hurt, but most people just don’t think about it. There are some really good reasons why you need to be sending a bit more love and attention right there.

The Kegel exercise is simply squeezing (in and up) the pubococcygeus, or PC, your pelvic floor muscle. These are the muscles we use to stop the flow of urination, but don’t practice while actually urinating, especially pregnant women who are more prone to urinary tract infections.

The pelvic floor muscle supports and keeps your internal organs in place. By doing your Kegel exercises you maintain the integrity of your PC muscle and:
  • prevent urinal leaks
  • enhance sexual pleasure
  • make the muscle more supple
This last one is critical for expectant women and makes it probably the most important prenatal exercise. Being pregnant makes the pelvic floor muscle longer and weaker, squeezing (in and up) makes it shorter and tighter. A toned muscle is one that relaxes easier; you’ll be supple and in control of these muscles for birth – open and relaxed, allowing for a smoother progression of the baby’s head down the birth canal during delivery, and more quickly return to its original length postpartum.
It’s best to do them when standing such as while washing dishes at the sink or standing in line at the grocery store. Squatting is most effective because weight is bearing down on your internal organs so you have to hold those muscles to keep everything lifted, especially with the added weight of the baby when pregnant. Less weight bears down on the PC muscle when sitting so makes it less challenging.   To practice the art of the kegel is to get to know and work them now. It’s not only hard to work the pelvic floor muscles after you’ve given birth if you’ve never done so before, but strengthening the pelvic floor increases support and circulation in men and women, giving both greater pleasure during sexual intercourse.   And wouldn’t you rather be enjoying your sex life than wearing a diaper?