Kegel exercises are exercises that strengthen and tone the muscles of the pelvic floor.
The pubococcygeus, or PC muscle, is the main muscle of the pelvic floor that surrounds the openings of the urethra, the vagina and rectum, providing sphincter control.
It is a hammock-like muscle, extending from the pubic bone to the coccyx, which forms the the floor of the pelvic cavity and supports the pelvic organs.
It is part of the levator ani group of muscles. At www.my-pilates-exercises.com you will find a diagram showing exactly where the pelvic floor muscles lie.
These exercises are named after Dr. Arnold Kegel who devised them.
Muscles that are repeatedly exercised become more elastic and well-toned. They will stretch more easily if they are strong and flexible.
With practice you will become aware of how to contract and relax the muscles of the pelvic floor.
During labor, the pelvic floor will stretch as the baby progresses down the birth canal. A tense or rigid pelvic floor may slow down the birth of your baby, so it is important to be able to relax this muscle.
There are many folds of skin called ruggae inside the vagina that enable it also to stretch considerably, like a concertina file, during the process of giving birth. Kegel exercises will help the vaginal muscles return to normal after your birth.
Anytime you are sitting comfortably, you can do the following:
Do two sets of five exercises up to 10 times a day, rather than a long session of exercises less frequently.
Do a set of kegels at the following times:
Hay-Smith J, Mørkved S, Fairbrother KA, Herbison GP. Pelvic floor muscle training for prevention and treatment of urinary and faecal incontinence in antenatal and postnatal women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD007471. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007471
ACOG Education Pamphlet AP081 -- Urinary Incontinence, http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp081.cfm, retrieved 19 September 2010
ACOG Education Pamphlet AP012 -- Pelvic Support Problems, http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp012.cfm, retrieved 19 September 2010
ACOG Education Pamphlet AP131 -- Getting in Shape After Your Baby ..., http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp131.cfm, retrieved 19 September 2010
Disclaimer: All information is provided for informational purposes only, although every effort is made to provide accurate and current information.
The site content is not intended to be or to substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Always seek the advice of a suitably qualified health care professional regarding your individual medical needs.
Pregnancy and Giving Birth.com is not responsible nor liable for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, services or products obtained via this website.