Certain studies have proven that doing Kegel exercises after delivery helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and also lessens postpartum discomfort. In fact, many healthcare providers also recommend adding Kegel exercises to your postpartum workout routine as it conditions your lower body and also alleviate conditions like postpartum urinary incontinence.
Read on, as we tell you more about the benefits of this exercise, the right time to start Kegels after delivery, and several poses that you can try.
The Right Time To Start Kegel Exercises After Delivery
The right time to start Kegel exercises depends on the type of delivery you had—normal or c-section and on how active you were during pregnancy. In case of an uncomplicated vaginal birth, you may start simple Kegel exercises after a few weeks, given you have your doctor’s go-ahead.
But if you’ve had an episiotomy during your delivery, you may have to wait longer. If you’ve had a c-section, you can start these exercises after your incision heals, which takes up to 4-6 weeks. Nonetheless, you should consult your healthcare provider about starting exercises after delivery, as every case is different.
Benefits Of Doing Kegel Exercises After Delivery
Besides strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, regular Kegel exercises can help you in the following ways.
Tackles urinary incontinence: Kegel exercises help strengthen your pelvic floor area and prevent urine leakage by enhancing your bladder control postpartum.
Prevents the risk of pelvic floor prolapse: Your pelvic floor muscles get weak during delivery, which further increases the risk of them dropping and pushing against the walls of the birth canal. Practicing Kegel exercises after childbirth can help prevent this condition.
Enhances postnatal healing: Some women may need an episiotomy during labour to enable childbirth. However, post the procedure, you may experience pain in your perineum and pelvic floor area. Doing Kegels can help enhance your recovery and reduce perineal pain.
7 Safe Kegel Exercises That You Can Try After Delivery
We have discussed a few simple Kegel exercises that you can try six weeks postpartum, with your doctor’s go-ahead.
Standing Kegel Activation
This movement involves contractions and breathing and is a great way of starting your workout routine after delivery.
Stand straight without bending your spine
Start with deep inhales and exhales
Hold/contract your pelvic floor muscles for a few seconds while breathing normally
Release the contractions after a few seconds have passed
Make sure that your breathing and pelvic floor contraction is in sync
Repeat this movement about 10 times, thrice a day
Hold And Release Kegels
This exercise is a variation of the first one and you can do it comfortably while sitting on a chair.
Sit on a chair or the floor, depending on what’s comfortable for you
Start inhaling and exhaling normally to begin the exercise
To squeeze your pelvic floor muscles, pretend that you are trying to hold your urine
Hold for a few seconds and then release the contraction slowly
Repeat the set about 15 times, thrice a day
Slow And Quick Kegel Contractions
This simple exercise helps condition your pelvic floor muscles effectively. You can do this anytime and anywhere, either while nursing your baby, watching TV, or reading.
Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles for 10 seconds
Slowly release the pressure
You can even do it for less than 10 seconds if that’s more comfortable
Do it regularly and gradually build up to holding your contractions for more than 10 seconds
Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles for 1-2 seconds, release, and start the next rep
Doing it once or twice initially is good enough
You can gradually increase the rep to up to 10 times
This exercise helps strengthen your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles and also alleviates other postpartum discomforts, such as backaches.
Lie down on a yoga mat and bend your knees
Tighten your buttocks and abdominal muscles for tilting your pelvis. Do not arch your back
Hold this pose for about 4-5 seconds and slowly get back to the normal position
Repeat this exercise about five times a day
This exercise is also great for strengthening your pelvic and abdominal muscles. However, you must ask your doctor the right time to start this exercise post-delivery. If you find it difficult to continue this movement at any time, discontinue and take rest immediately.
Lie down on a yoga mat and bend your knees
Slowly lift your tummy, while resting your hands on each side
Hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Make sure your hip muscles are tightened
After a while, come down to the starting position and relax your muscles
Repeat this routine 6-8 times regularly
Mini Kegel Squats
Doing mini squats post-delivery can help your pelvic floor muscles, back, and even your abdominal area.
Stand with your feet wide apart on the ground
Gently lower down while pushing your buttocks
Make sure your knees are aligned with your feet and knees are straight
Repeat this movement 2-3 times, and once you are comfortable, increase the rep
This exercise is an excellent way to enhance strength in your pelvic area and reducing pain in your back.
Sit on all your fours
Start with inhaling and tucking your head downward
Push your back to form a curve and hold this position for a few seconds
Exhale while looking upward and lowering your back
Repeat the same 5-8 times
Helpful Tips For Doing Kegel Exercises After Delivery
Make sure to start the exercises slowly and follow these tips to get them right.
The effective way to start Kegel exercises is by identifying your pelvic floor muscles and pretending to hold your urine.
Be focused and try not to bend any muscles in your abdomen, thighs, or buttocks.
Keep breathing normally while performing Kegels.
Start with fewer exercises at first and gradually build your strength once you are comfortable.
Whether you are standing, sitting, or lying down during the exercises, your posture has to be strictly straight.
Kegel exercises after delivery are recommended as they help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and also promote postnatal healing. You can start with doing these exercises for a few minutes each day, and then build your workout regime from there.
However, as discussed, make sure to consult your doctor before starting a workout regime postpartum. If needed, take more time to heal, and then start these exercises to enable proper recovery and care.