Kegels and Pregnancy. Should you do them?
Kegels have long been the most prescribed exercise for the pelvic floor and women often hear about them for the first time when they are pregnant.
Should you do them or shouldn't you do them?
Quick answer is Yes, you should.
In pregnancy our uterus is growing up and then out in front of us. It shifts our center of gravity, which we try to accommodate with different positioning of our pelvis. We need pelvic floor muscles that can respond to those changes as well as be able to manage an ever increasing load. So, we want to have pelvic floor muscles that are strong but we also want pelvic floor muscles that are supple and that can release tension, find ease and surrender as well. Kegels involve a voluntary contraction of the pelvic floor muscles, coupled with a lift and then a letting go. The muscle needs to experience the full range of motion - not just a squeeze or a contraction. Kegels in pregnancy, done correctly, will help keep those muscles strong, supple and able to withstand all of the changes that are happening.
Do Kegels help with Birthing?
Yes, they also play a role in birth as well. As the baby descends into the pelvis, their head presses against the pelvic floor and the resistance helps guide the baby out of the pelvis. Muscles that have too much tone can inhibit the movements as can muscles that have too little tone. We want a goldilocks pelvic floor - one that has gentle tone to help guide baby into the cardinal movements of birth and one that is able to surrender and yield to sensations of pressure and discomfort.
The sphincter law states that sphincters need to stay closed when we don't want something to come out and we need them to be able to open when needed. The sphincter law contributes to the opening of the cervix and when our cervix is opening, we need to have pelvic floor muscles that respond in the same way so we want to make sure there is no stuck tension in the pelvic floor that might create resistance for the baby.
Kim Vopni, The Vagina Coach
Kegels are very important in pregnancy and birthing as they help contribute to strong, supple muscles and can contribute to a mind/body connection that is essential in labour. Watch the video below and pay attention to the modification I give - this is key!
A balanced training program in your pregnancy is key. My birth prep program is called Prepare to Push™ and it goes through everything you need to know from early pregnancy through birth and of course, the recovery. There is a strong emphasis on the pelvic floor and abdomen because they face the most change.
And one last thing, once you've had your baby and you are recovering, Kegels are your very first exercise. The first recovery exercise that I have my clients do is called the core breath.
The next video will review, in more detail, what we touched on in this article and following that you can watch the video on Core Breath.
Kegels and Pregnancy
Here is the video discussing the Core Breath Exercise
So, there you have it.
Kegels in pregnancy. Yes, you should do them, but make sure you do them with the modification. You also want to incorporate the core breath (kegels) into your exercise routine during pregnancy and for your postpartum recovery routine as well. That is all covered in Prepare To Push™ If you have any questions please reach out and we would be happy to assist in any way.