A kegel is an exercise to strengthen a specific muscle in the pelvic floor, the pubococcygeus or PC muscle. This muscle is in the pelvic floor, under the perineum on your body. These muscles help you control the flow of urine. When you're pregnant or newly postpartum, you may suffer from a bit of urinary incontinence. Sometimes this is stress incontinence, as in you wet yourself a bit when you sneeze other times it's a leaking whenever your bladder is full.
The kegel exercises are designed to strengthen the PC muscle. This can help eliminate or alleviate symptoms of incontinence. To do this you need to identify the muscle, done by stopping the flow of urine. When you are not urinating, you should slowly squeeze this muscle together and hold it for a count of ten. This should be done three times a day. For best results do it once while standing, once while sitting and once while lying down.
The problem is not the exercise, that is simple and easy to do. The hard part comes in remembering to do the exercises. When I went to my first childbirth class I was given a sticker and told to place it someplace I looked at a lot, so I choose my car horn. The problem was eventually I didn't even notice the sticker anymore. So here are some tips I've gathered to help you remember to kegel:
- Kegel whenever you are at a red light.
- Kegel at commercials.
- Kegel while you brush your teeth.
- Kegel while you listen to phone messages.
- Kegel while you wait for the snooze alarm to go off again.
- Kegel just before bed.
- Kegel during sex. (This really does work, ask your husband!)
- Kegel while waiting in line.
- Kegel while checking email.
- Kegel while doing relaxation.
Doing these exercises faithfully will help you tremendously. But remember that it can take several weeks before you notice the muscle strength changing.