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The Wonder Of Kegels: Do Them During Pregnancy For A Quicker Recovery

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When I was pregnant I playfully referred to myself as the "Kegel Queen." I wasn't really ruling over any particular domain, per se, except that I was trying to convince myself that I wasn't panicking about the impending ruinous stretch of my, ahem, sacred space and that all would be as pert and twenty-something AFTER as it was BEFORE the glorious gift of motherhood had been bestowed upon me.

So when I was told in no uncertain terms by my nurse-midwife that I was to strengthen my vaginal muscles multiple times a day, in the car, at work, while eating yogurt and, yes, even while watching t.v., I dutifully obeyed without the slightest prompting. The description they often give is to use the muscle you use to stop and start the flow of urine. Why everyone knows this muscle, do they not! How many campers have had to turn off the faucet in full fear of approaching bear? Or something? Well, suffice it to say that I, too, knew where to locate that muscle and I switched it off and held it for ten, contracting "along the canal" and holding for longer and longer periods of time until I was pretty darn proud! Some interesting facts about Kegels are as follows:

Kegel (KAY-gul or KEY-gul) exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder and bowel. If you do Kegel exercises regularly and keep your pelvic floor muscles toned, you may reduce your risk of incontinence and similar problems as you get older. Kegel exercises can also help you control urinary incontinence.

Learning how to perform Kegel exercises properly can be tricky. How do you know whether you're working the correct muscles? Here's a guide to perfecting Kegel exercises.

Kegel exercises: Who can benefit
Female pelvic floor muscles
Many conditions put stress on your pelvic floor muscles:

Being overweight
A chronic cough
A genetic predisposition to weak connective tissue
When your pelvic floor muscles weaken, your pelvic organs descend and bulge into your vagina, a condition known as pelvic organ prolapse. The effects of pelvic organ prolapse range from uncomfortable pelvic pressure to leakage of urine or feces.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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