Kegel exercises are a vital part of postpartum recovery for many women. These exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can become weakened during pregnancy and childbirth. However, it is essential to understand when it is safe to start doing kegels after birth and how to perform them correctly to avoid any potential complications.
In this article, we will discuss when you can start doing kegels after birth, how to perform them, and some key points to keep in mind.
When Can You Start Doing Kegels After Birth?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that women can start doing kegels as soon as they feel comfortable after giving birth. While there is no set timeline for when to begin, most healthcare providers suggest waiting until after the six-week postpartum checkup before starting any exercise routine.
During the first six weeks after giving birth, your body undergoes significant changes as it heals from childbirth. It is crucial to focus on rest and gentle movements during this time to prevent injury and promote healing. However, once your healthcare provider gives you the green light to resume physical activity, kegel exercises can be an excellent way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Performing Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises are simple and easy to do. Here are the steps to follow to perform kegel exercises:
Identify the muscles:
Before starting kegel exercises, it is essential to identify the pelvic floor muscles. To do this, imagine that you are trying to stop the flow of urine mid-stream. The muscles that contract to stop the urine flow are the pelvic floor muscles.
Contract the muscles:
Once you have identified the pelvic floor muscles, contract them by squeezing and lifting them upward. Hold the contraction for three to five seconds, then release.
Relax the muscles:
After contracting the pelvic floor muscles, relax them completely and take a few deep breaths.
Repeat the process for ten to fifteen repetitions, three times a day.
It is essential to perform kegel exercises correctly to avoid any potential complications. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Do not contract your abdominal, buttock, or thigh muscles while performing kegel exercises as it can put excessive strain on your pelvic floor muscles.
Breathe normally and do not hold your breath while contracting your pelvic floor muscles.
Start with short contractions and gradually increase the duration and intensity of each contraction as your muscles get stronger.
Do not overdo it. Over-exercising can cause muscle fatigue and potentially lead to injury.
Benefits of Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises offer many benefits for women during and after pregnancy. Here are some of the key benefits of kegel exercises:
Strengthening Pelvic Floor Muscles:
Pregnancy and childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leading to urinary incontinence and other complications. Kegel exercises help strengthen these muscles, reducing the risk of incontinence and other issues.
Improved Sexual Health:
Strong pelvic floor muscles can improve sexual health by increasing sensitivity and making it easier to achieve orgasm.
Reduced Risk of Prolapse:
A prolapse occurs when the pelvic organs, such as the uterus or bladder, sag or protrude into the vaginal canal. Kegel exercises can reduce the risk of prolapse by strengthening the muscles that support these organs.
Faster Recovery After Childbirth:
Kegel exercises can speed up postpartum recovery by promoting healing and reducing the risk of complications.
Kegel exercises are an essential part of postpartum recovery for many women. These exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, reducing the risk of urinary incontinence, prolapse, and other complications.
While there is no set timeline for when to start doing kegels after birth, most healthcare providers suggest waiting until after the six-week postpartum checkup before starting any exercise routine. It is essential to perform kegel exercises correctly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of each contraction as your muscles get stronger.
Remember that every woman’s postpartum recovery journey is unique, and it is always best to consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any physical activity after childbirth. With patience and consistency, kegel exercises can be a great way to promote pelvic health and overall wellness during the postpartum period.