pregnant woman sitting on bed doing kegel exercises in pregnancy showing her belly and hands on her tummy

7 Myths About Kegel Exercises In Pregnancy That Will Blow Your Mind And Improve Your Birth

If you’ve been pregnant for a minute, you’ve probably heard that you need to do Kegel exercises during your pregnancy. If not I’ll explain everything you need to know about Kegels and how they can improve your pregnancy and birth experience today.

Essentially, Kegal exercises are a simple exercise to work your pelvic floor. These are the muscles that support your lower organs such as your bladder, rectum, and vagina. A strong pelvic floor means that you won’t leak pee when you sneeze, you may have better sex and can even make it easier for you to push your baby out.

However, much of the advice out there about Kegel exercises in pregnancy is flat out wrong and will set you up to do more harm than good.

This article will help you make good decisions when it comes to Kegel exercises and reap the many benefits this simple pelvic floor workout has during your pregnancy.

Today I’m going to bust common myths about Kegal exercises in pregnancy so that you can do them safely effectively and reap the many rewards of this simple exercise. 

Let’s get started!


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7 Myths About Kegel Exercises In Pregnancy That Will Blow Your Mind

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1. Kegel Exercises in Pregnancy Myth 1 – You Have A Muscle Called The Kegel Muscle

What is this myth about?

It is a common belief that if you are doing a Kegel exercise you must have a Kegel muscle. This is not true. Kegel exercises are not named for the muscle you are working, but for the doctor that first studied the importance of the pelvic floor muscles and how to strengthen them. Dr. Kegel helped women learn how to flex their pelvic floor muscles to prevent their bladder from dropping down and putting pressure on the vagina and other organs. It turns out his exercises ended up having a whole host of other unexpected benefits.

What you need to know instead:

Your pelvic floor muscles are an integrated part of your abdominal system. They are like a hammock that goes from the front of your pubic bone to the very back of your pubic bone. These muscles hold up all your internal organs, specifically the bladder, rectum, and vagina. The pelvic floor muscles also wrap around the vaginal canal, urethra, and lowest part of the rectum supporting these organs and helping them stay in place.

Do you want to learn how to protect these muscles while you exercise? Check out these Diastasis Recti Exercise Programs that will also help you properly care for your pelvic floor and abdominals while you work out.

2. Kegel Exercises In Pregnancy Myth 2 – To Do A Kegal Exercise You Need To Try To Stop The Flow Of Urine.

What is this myth about:

Many people are told they way to do a Kegel exercise in pregnancy correctly is to sit on the toilet and try to stop the flow of urine. This does require the use of some of your pelvic floor muscles, but certainly not all of them. If this is how you are doing your Kegels, you will not be strengthening your entire pelvic floor.

What to do instead:

Your pelvic floor muscles make the shape of a diamond with the four points connecting in the front and sides of your pelvis. The center of the diamond is just about where your vagina is. When you do a kegel, you want to draw all of these muscles up and in towards your belly button.

One easy way to do this is to imagine that you are picking a marble up with your vagina. As you breathe out, pull the imaginary marble up. Hold your muscles tight and take a shallow breath.

As you exhale, imagine pulling the marble up to a second floor, like it was going up and elevator. Hold your muscles tight while you take a small inhale.

As you exhale again, pull the marble to the imaginary third floor. With every exhale you are bringing the marble and all the muscles of your pelvic floor up and in towards your belly button.

On your next inhale, release it all. Letting your muscles totally relax.

You are not bracing or putting any downward pressure on your muscles. Kegel exercises are all about lifting and bringing your muscles up and in.

Having trouble doing this on your own? Check out the Every Mother exercise program to find workouts proven to teach you how to do a Kegel and heal your abdominals during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

3. Kegel Exercises In Pregnancy Myth 3 -If You Are Fit And Healthy You Have A Strong Pelvic Floor And If You Are Not Fit You Have A Weak Pelvic Floor

What is this myth about:

Many people believe that if you are generally fit, you have a healthy pelvic floor. These two things often happen at the same time, but not always. If you leak pee when you run, you have a weak pelvic floor. If you suffer from incontinence of any kind, you have a weak pelvic floor.

One problem that happens with many people who work out is that they use their pelvic floor to brace themselves for impact. This means that while they workout they push out and down against their pelvic floor. This will weaken the muscles over time and cause a weak pelvic floor. If you have been doing this, let Kegel exercises come to your rescue.

What to do instead:

Kegel exercises are all about drawing everything up and in. Another good way to begin to gain control over these muscles is to imagine that your vagina is a straw.

Make a tight circle with your lips like you are going to suck in through a straw. Now mimic that feeling with your vagina.

Now actually inhale as if you were drinking air through a straw. Copy that same motion with your vagina, bringing ‘air’ up and into your belly. Now fully release and relax. Do you feel how everything moves up and in, up and in, up and in?

Never pushing outwards or down on these muscles to brace yourself for impact when exercising.


LEARN TO DO A PERFECT KEGEL EXERCISE EVERY TIME

If you are wondering if you are doing Kegels right, or if you are realizing you have been putting downward pressure on your pelvic floor when you exercise, now is the time to remedy your ways.

Every Mother is a uniquely designed workout system for pregnant moms that is based on creating a healthy functional movement pattern, supporting your core, and doing lots of kegel exercises. This program is fun and challenging and perfect for a pregnant mom wanting to gain more control of her pelvic floor.

Every Mother

4. Kegel Exercises In Pregnancy Myth 4 – You Should Do Your Kegal Exercises While At A Stoplight

What this myth is about

It is true that doing a Kegel doesn’t require much thought once you have mastered doing them well. It is also true that no one can tell you are doing them so you can do them while standing in line, while sitting at a red light, or while binging NetFlix on the couch. But that is not really a good idea. You should only do Kegels when you can maintain proper posture and are focusing on doing them correctly.

When you are sitting hunched over your organs are already being squished and not properly supported. You will likely strengthen some parts of your pelvic floor and weaken other parts when you do this. It is hard to have good posture in your car, on your couch, and standing in line if you aren’t paying close attention.

What to do instead:

Get down on your hands and knees cat-cow style with a neutral back. Do ten Kegels with either visualization from above in this position.

Now lay on your back with your ankles together and your knees out as if you are doing a butterfly stretch. Do ten Kegels in this position.

Now stand up and put your arms against the wall as if you were doing an inclined pushup. Do ten Kegels in this position. See how these positions help you maintain proper posture while doing your Kegels? Your body will thank you for not trying to rush things.

5. Kegel Exercises In Pregnancy Myth 5 – Kegels Are Only About Good Sex

What this myth is about:

It is true that many women who do Kegels regularly report having more enjoyable sex and have more orgasms. This is because the pelvic floor muscles actually wrap around and support the vaginal canal. If your pelvic floor muscles are strong and toned, they keep the vaginal canal long and lean. Your vagina actually does not have very many nerve endings. But the pelvic floor muscles do!

But the benefits do not end at better sex. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

What else you need to know:

A study published in the  Journal of Nursing Times shows that women who do Kegels during pregnancy are less likely to tear when giving birth. Moms who do Kegels during pregnancy are also less likely to need an episiotomy. Why?

Take a look at those two vaginal canals again. It may seem on first look that the shorter one would let a baby just fall out. But, we all know a baby doesn’t fall out. Your body pushes him out. A toned muscle is more able to push a baby. Also, notice how much more muscle contact there is on the baby in the pushing stage with the long/lean /tones kegeled vaginal canal.

Another study found that women who did Kegal exercises in pregnancy were quicker to heal after birth and more likely to have fully functioning perenium 6 weeks to three months after childbirth. And a strong muscle has more elasticity and resilience than a weak muscle.

The science is clear, doing Kegels exercises in pregnancy has clear benefits to your birth.

Find out more about what happens when you don’t take care of your pelvic floor and abdominals during pregnancy with the 7 Diastasis Recti Symptoms you need to know!

6. Kegel Exercises In Pregnancy Myth 6 – You Want To Pull Your Pelvic Floor Muscles Up And In 100% Of The Time

What this myth is about:

So if Kegel exercises have so many benefits in pregnancy, it makes sense that you would want to focus on clenching your muscles up and in all the time right? Wrong!

You don’t want to work out your muscles past the point of fatigue. Using your bicep to use your arm has a lot of benefits. Having a strong bicep has even more benefits. But still, if you were to walk around with your bicep flexed all the time, you would likely injure it.

Same thing with Kegel exercises. Make sure that you rest your muscles and don’t over do it.

What to do instead:

Make sure that you are moving functionally throughout the day. By this I mean to make sure that you are not bearing down or bracing any weight you lift against your pelvic floor by exerting downward pressure on your pelvic floor. Draw up and in when you are moving or lifting things, including your body. You can also intentionally workout these muscles during the day.

Balance this with resting, relaxing, and letting your pelvic floor do its thing. Just like you don’t have to overthink using your arm, you don’t have to overthink using your pelvic floor. Trust your body to do its job.

7. Kegel Exercises In Pregnancy Myth 7 – Every Pregnant Woman Everywhere Should Do Kegel Exercises

What this myth is about:

Kegels are so great, so every pregnant woman should do them! Or at least, that is what it seems like. But this is another mth! Surprised? There are some women who should not do Kegels.

Who shouldn’t do Kegel exercises in pregnancy? If you have ever been told you have a hypertonic pelvic floor, you do not want to do Kegels in pregnancy. This means that your pelvic floor is overly tight and you do not know how to relax or release it.

Sign of an overly tight pelvic floor are: chronic sudden urges to urinate, peeing frequently but not ever feeling like you fully empty your bladder, not being able to start peeing when you sit on the toilet, tailbone pain, and constipation. Also, not being able to get a tampon in.

Pain during intercourse can be caused by a pelvic floor that is too weak or a pelvic floor that is too tight. You can talk to your midwife or a physical therapist that specializes in helping pregnant moms if you are unsure about your own pelvic floor and if Kegels are right for you.

What to do instead:

If you think you may have an overly tight pelvic floor, speak to your midwife or a physical therapist. However, the vast majority of women need to do Kegels.

If you are concerned about developing an overly tight pelvic floor, make sure that you learn how to do a Kegel correctly. Correctly doing a Kegel will means that you also know how to fully release and relax this muscle between exercises.

Birth is all about opening and relaxing, so while tightening your pelvic floor is very important and will help you have a safe birth, don’t skip the part about relaxing!!

TL/DR Summary About Kegel Exercises In Pregnancy

Kegel exercises in pregnancy have some incredible benefits including decreasing your likelihood of tearing and faster recovery if you do tear during birth. They can also help you stop leaking pee and help your lower back be more comfortable. Bye Bye back pain!

To learn to do a Kegel correctly, I highly recommend checking out the Every Mother exercise program. This program will teach you how to do Kegels correctly and make sure you are moving your body functionally during pregnancy. Plus, they are all around great workouts!

I would love to hear your experiences with Kegel exercises in pregnancy. Leave a comment below or shoot me an email to tell me all about it!