Kegels are exercises that strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor — the ones that support your urethra, bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum.
Kegels help prevent urine leaks during and after pregnancy and may even help you in the second stage of labor. What's more, Kegels increase circulation to your rectal and vaginal area, so they may help keep hemorrhoids at bay and speed healing after childbirth if you receive stitches.
Here's how to do them:
- Tighten the muscles around your vagina as if trying to interrupt the flow of urine when going to the bathroom. Use a "squeeze and lift" technique, working only your pelvic floor muscles while keeping your abdominal and leg muscles relaxed. And be sure not to hold your breath.
- Hold for about eight to ten seconds, then release. Do them in sets of ten, and try to work up to three or four sets a day.
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