Have You Done Your Kegels Today?
Christine Sweeney, LICSW Program Manager, Parent Connection, BIDMC
APRIL 28, 2020
Ask any woman who's been pregnant and had a baby, and it's almost guaranteed that she's heard of Kegel exercises. Ask her if she actually does these exercises and that's a different story. "Well, maybe once or twice, if I remember, in between breastfeeding marathons and diaper changes." The reality is that for most moms, the postpartum period is a blur of sleepless days and nights with the primary focus on just getting through the day.
For most women, it's hard enough to find the time and energy to exercise after having a baby. If we are going to exercise, it's going to be focused on something that matters, like shrinking our belly back to what it was before baby made our jeans too tight to button.
But hold on. You may not have all the information that you need to know. In truth, Kegels are a whole lot more important than you may realize for the short term and especially for the long term. It's not unusual, when you get a group of women together and they start talking about their bodies after delivery, that they will admit to occasions of urinary incontinence, sometimes after sneezing, coughing, running, or even laughing too hard. That's where Kegels come in. After a vaginal delivery, your pelvic floor muscles, those muscles responsible for helping you to not "sneeze and pee" have been stretched, and they need to be worked back into shape. It's important that Kegels not only be done, but done correctly.
Apart from urinary incontinence, prolapse (when the pelvic organs drop or slip out of place) can also occur when the pelvic floor muscles are weakened. At BIDMC, we have a dedicated team of pelvic floor specialists that can help.
If you have questions, concerns, or are experiencing symptoms, there is no need to suffer or wonder in silence. The Division of Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery in the Department of OB/GYN at BIDMC can provide valuable assessment and answer any of your questions or concerns. And if you're feeling great, that's awesome —do your Kegels!
I just did a set, that's right, while at work, in my COVID-19 home office.