Kegel exercise for pregnant women keeps the pelvic floor in good shape.
This Physiotherapist video shows you the best positions to do Kegel exercises through-out your pregnancy.
Suitability: During pregnancy
Video duration: 4 mins
Please scroll down for more Physio information about alternative positions for Kegel exercises during pregnancy.
Pelvic Floor Exercises Workout
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Strengthen your pelvic floor with this daily Kegel exercises routine.
This evidence-based pelvic floor exercise workout guides you step by step.
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway
Track 1 – Introduction to Successful Strengthening
Track 2 – Finding your Pelvic Floor
Track 3 – Feeling your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Track 4 – Using the Correct Pelvic Floor Exercise Technique
Track 5 – Beginners Pelvic Floor Exercises Workout
Track 6 – Intermediate Pelvic Floor Exercises Workout
Track 7 – Progressing and Maintaining your Strength
Benefits of Kegel Exercise for Pregnant Women
Kegels can keep the pelvic floor strong 1 and firm, support the weight of the growing baby and minimize the risk of some specific pelvic floor problems.
Some women develop pelvic floor problems during pregnancy such as bladder leakage, urinary frequency and/or uncomfortable heaviness and bulging in the pelvic floor. These problems can be caused by the weight of the growing baby and the softening effect of pregnancy hormones on the pelvic floor tissues.
Pelvic floor muscle training can reduce bladder leakage during pregnancy 2 and should be the first line of intervention for training the pelvic floor muscles to treat urinary incontinence. 3
Best Positions for Kegel Exercise During Early Pregnancy
During early pregnancy especially during the first 4-5 months try to do your Kegels in upright positions such as sitting and standing.
Benefit of Kegels in Upright Positions
In these upright positions your pelvic floor muscles need to lift up and squeeze against the downward force of gravity. These are the best positions to strengthen your pelvic floor in preparation for the increasing weight and size of your baby.
- Training your pelvic floor muscles to work when you’re upright 4
- Lifting the pelvic floor against gravity to make your pelvic floor muscles stronger
- Sit forward away from the back of the chair using good posture for Kegels
- Maintain the neutral inward curve in your lower back throughout your exercises 5
- Use the correct technique for Kegel exercise during pregnancy that involves squeezing and lifting inwards around your three pelvic openings (anus, vagina and urethra or urine tube).
- Relax your pelvic floor muscles before your next exercise
- Repeat 8-12 Kegels, 3 times daily for at least 5 days of the week 6
The best positions for Kegel exercise may change during pregnancy as your baby grows. Research has shown that pelvic floor training in a variety of positions during pregnancy reduces urinary incontinence and increases pelvic floor strength (during pregnancy and up to at least three months after delivery).6
Kegel Exercises During Second & Third Trimesters
As your pregnancy progresses it can become more difficult to do Kegel exercises in upright positions, especially towards the end of the day as your pelvic floor becomes tired. Another reason for this difficulty is that the pelvic floor muscles stretch with the increasing weight of the baby.
Changing the position of your Kegel exercises from upright to anti-gravity can help you continue to exercise your pelvic floor as your baby becomes heavier.
A variety of positions are suitable for Kegel exercises in the second and third trimester. These positions eliminate the downwards force of gravity and take the load off the pelvic floor making it easier to contract the pelvic floor muscles.
Best Kegels positions for mid to late pregnancy include:
- Kneeling on all fours
- Resting though your forearms and knees especially if your wrists are sore with carpel tunnel problems
- Side lying with a pillow supporting your baby
Continue to include upright Kegel exercise during pregnancy if you’re able to throughout the second and third trimesters.
1 Oliveira C, Lopes M, Pereira L, & Zugaib M (2007) Effects of pelvic floor muscle training during pregnancy. Clinics, 62(4), pps 439-446.
2 Harvey M (2003) Pelvic Floor Exercises During and After Pregnancy: A Systematic Review of Their Role in Preventing Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada .25 (6), pps 487-498.
3 Dumoulin C, Cacciari L, Hay‐Smith E (2018) Pelvic floor muscle training versus no treatment, or inactive control treatments, for urinary incontinence in women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, No. 10.
4 Wilson G, Murphy A, Walshe A (1996) The specificity of strength training: the effect of posture. Eur J Appl Physiol. 73:346–352.
5 Sapsford R, Hodges P, Richardson C, Cooper D, Markwell S, Jull G (2000) Co‐activation of the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles during voluntary exercises. Neurourology and Urodynamics 20, (1), pps 31-42.
6 Mørkved S, Bø K, Schei B, Salvesen, K (2003) Pelvic Floor Muscle Training During Pregnancy to Prevent Urinary Incontinence: A Single-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 101, pps 313-319.