The pelvic floor of women is composed of layers of muscles that support the inner uterus, the surrounding bowel and bladder. Pregnancy and childbirth put pressure on these muscles, and you may find a few drops of urine leak when you sneeze or cough. This is called stress incontinence. Regular exercises targeting the pelvic floor muscles can reduce your risk of urinary incontinence even as you age. Kegel exercises are recommended along with counseling sessions with a counselor for those experiences difficulties in their sex life.
Kegel exercises tone-up the pelvic floor muscles. They also make a pregnant woman feel comfortable as her delivery time approaches. You can tone these muscles and maintain their strength following childbirth too. In addition, the weakening of pelvic floor muscles can cause pelvic organ to prolapsed, i.e. when these descend and bulge into the vagina resulting in uncomfortable pelvic pressure, leakage of urine or even faeces.
Find the right muscles in the pelvic floor and learn how to contract and relax them. To identify the muscles, try to stop the flow of urine while you are in the bathroom and release. The pelvic floor will move up and down. But this is just for you to find the right muscle. Do not make a habit of doing these exercises on a full bladder or while emptying your bladder. Empty your bladder, sit or lie down, then find your targeted muscle groups and begin. The movement will be more pronounced as you exercise. In case you experience any pain, bleeding, shortness of breath, palpitations, dizziness or vaginal bleeding, stop Kegel exercises and consult your doctor.
Way to go About
- Relax and breathe freely while exercising
- Contract the pelvic floor muscles
- Hold the pelvic contraction for 3 seconds and then relax for 3 seconds.
- Once you have perfected the method, try it out for 4 seconds
- Repeat 10 times every day.
- You can work up keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time and then relax for 10 seconds between contractions
- Perform a set of 10 Kegel exercises at least three times a day
Experts recommend that you rest for around 4-6 weeks if you have had a normal vaginal delivery and 6-8 weeks if you have had a Caesarean Section. Before starting any abdominal exercises prgramme after delivery you need to wait for at least 3 months after a C-Section delivery. Start slow with exercise such as walking and light abdominal exercises. You can even get back to swimming or bicycling if you wish. The best exercise, however, is the Kegel exercises.
It is important for nursing mothers not to crash diet because milk production requires extra 500 calories in a day. Consume enough calories to keep up your energy level.
Post-natal exercises offer several health benefits:
- Weight loss and a speedier return to pre-pregnancy weight
- Increased energy levels, increased metabolism
- Better ability to cope with the demands of a newborn baby
- Better sleeping pattern
- Stress relief
- Combats post-natal depression, elevates mood by releasing endorphins—the ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain.