Even before I got pregnant the above scenario ensued all too frequently. Maybe I have an extra small bladder? Maybe I just stay a little too hydrated during the day? All I know is that after sitting or standing in one position on the train journey home, once I start moving my urine does too - without forgiveness!
Considering my non-pregnant predicament, I listened when the pregnancy websites, books and midwives gave me the "Kegels Speech." If you are or have been pregnant, you’ll most likely have heard someone wax lyrical about the importance of kegels, or pelvic floor exercises, probably near the start of your 9 month journey – I did.
The gist of the message – carrying a growing baby for 9 months with a system chock full of pregnancy hormones will put extra pressure on your pelvic floor muscles that is exacerbated when you stretch these muscles at birth. Your pelvic floor must stay toned and “in shape,” otherwise you can expect incontinence in all its forms from leakage to full fledged accidents during pregnancy and post birth.
But don’t worry say the fonts of wisdom. This is just another side effect of pregnancy! Plus, kegels are at your service. Performing your kegels daily will help you maintain a healthy pelvic floor and prevent incontinence. And even better, when you sign up to the kegels club you don’t do so just for pregnancy but for the rest of your life!
As if we pregnant ladies don’t have enough to think about before committing to a lifetime membership in the Kegels club. But alas, who wants to wear mama diapers because of an incontinent pelvic floor? I don’t, so I listened more about the art of kegels.
There are two main kegels exercises:
- Engage your pelvic floor for a count of 10 and then slowly release it about 10-15 times, at several points during the day.
- Engage your pelvic floor and then release it quickly about 10-15 times, at several points during the day.
After some digging, I found this Prenatal Yoga Center article, which gives a great all around explanation of how and why kegels are important, complete with diagram for those interested. It also details added benefits of a healthy pelvic floor including increased circulation to the pelvic area for better sex, a healthier back AND improved awareness of how to relax the pelvic floor when pushing in labor, reducing the chances of tearing. I'm sold!
Yes, kegels may be one more thing to accomplish during my busy days but they can be done on the sly from the office chair, train or in front of the TV and the all around benefits far outweigh any hassle involved. In my opinion kegels are one piece of pregnancy advice that shouldn't be overlooked. Ironically, I haven't had as many desperate power walks to the toilet since I got pregnant and started my kegels.....but then again, maybe I just religiously go to the bathroom more often.