by Pregnancy.org Staff
Looking for an exercise you can do at your desk, waiting for an appointment, while watching TV or sitting at a traffic light? Try Kegels. According to the San Francisco Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, a well-toned pubococcygeus muscle improves sexual control and plays a key part in achieving orgasm. Healthy and robust pelvic floor muscles also:
The pelvic floor is a "hammock" of muscles that hold the pelvic organs snuggly in place. Kegel exercises treat and prevent pelvic floor weakness. For just a little "investment" you reap many rewards!
Throughout a woman's life: Kegel exercises can help you prevent or control urinary incontinence and other pelvic floor problems. Even more exciting? Strong PC muscles enhance sexual pleasure.
During pregnancy: Practicing Kegel exercises help strengthen and tone pelvic floor muscles. Stronger PC muscles improve sexual satisfaction, help prevent urinary leaking and speed up healing after birth.
For guys: Kegel exercises can increase blood flow to the penis. By practicing yourself, you can a faster erection and one that lasts longer. Kegels also prevent incontinence -- a need to urinate that's so strong that you can't reach the toilet in time.
1. Prepare: You just need a few minutes. We suggest using time that's otherwise wasted -- like waiting for that stoplight to turn green as you're driving to work or multitasking while washing dishes. Choose an everyday situation and make Kegels a regular part of your routine.
2. Find the PC muscle: Pretend you're a vacuum cleaner and you're sucking a marble into your vagina or that you're trying to stop peeing mid-stream. That's the muscle we're targeting. You can also find the pubococcygeus muscle by putting a finger into your vagina. Tightening the PC muscle squeezes your finger.
2. Relax. Try to keep everything relaxed except the muscles right around the vagina. When performing Kegels, don't tighten your butt, tense your thighs or suck in your stomach. If these muscles tighten, relax and start over. Sitting or lying with your knees together might help.
3. Take a breath. While exhaling, gradually count to five while tightening the muscles around your vaginal opening as if to pull it up toward the inside of your belly button.
4. Inhale and relax. Not sure how "relaxed" feels? Imagine you're trying to push a tampon out of your vagina.
5. That's one. Gradually work up to 20 times per session. Try to do Kegels three times a day, several times a week. You'll begin noticing changes in less than a month.
Big Tip: Many companies offer gadgets that help you locate and exercise the pubococcygeus muscle. These aids include kegel exercisers, vaginal weights, cones, beads and biofeedback monitors.
Before starting a fitness program, talk with your midwife or OB/GYN about your current health, physical activity and pregnancy. We don't know what kind of shape you're in or what your medical needs/concerns are. Please get the green light from your provider first!
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