A strong pelvic floor can make pregnancy easier and prevent future problems. The muscles in this area hold your pelvic organs in place, running from the pubic bone to the base of your spine. Just like any other muscles, they need to be trained to maintain their shape and flexibility. Unfortunately, they get weaker as you age. Regular exercise is essential for keeping your pelvic floor strong.
Who Can Benefit from Pelvic Floor Exercises?
Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can improve bowel and bladder control. Women of all ages can benefit from pelvic floor exercises. Uterine prolapse, incontinence, and other related issues can occur anytime. The only way to prevent them is to train the muscles supporting your pelvic organs.
Kegels and other exercises can reduce the risk of prolapse, enhance bladder and bowel function, and improve sex drive. By strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, you’ll recover faster from surgery and childbirth, have a better sex life, and gain self confidence. On top of that, you’ll experience less pain during labor.
Men can benefit from pelvic floor exercises too. This routine speeds up recovery after prostate surgery and may prevent urinary stress incontinence. It’s also beneficial for people with spinal cord injuries. These disorders are often associated with urinary and fecal incontinence.
Simple Ways to Train Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
There are various pelvic floor exercises that pregnant women can try. Short squeezes, long squeezes, kegels, and deep breathing help strengthen these muscles. Kegels are particularly beneficial during pregnancy. These exercises contract the pelvic floor muscles for short periods of time. If done regularly, they help prevent postpartum fecal incontinence and loss of bowel control.
Recent studies have found that kegel exercises may reduce the odds of complications during and after pregnancy. Women who train their pelvic floor muscles have shorter active periods of labor than those who don’t. They also report less pain and recover faster from childbirth.
Pelvic floor exercises should be done several times a day for the rest of your life. Most women start during pregnancy. There is more than one way to work your pelvic floor muscles. For instance, you can squeeze and lift these muscles from a sitting, standing, or lying position. Maintain the contraction for up to 10 seconds, and then relax for 5-6 seconds. Repeat for at least 10 times. Complete up to four sets a day. Do not hold your breath, tighten your buttocks, or pull in your upper tummy when working your pelvic floor muscles.