Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze! To do your kegel exercises and train your pelvic floor is important, but rarely talked about. Why is it important? How do you do it? Are there any tips or shortcuts? We’ve met with midwife Helena Livijn to learn more.
Helena Livijn has over 30 years of experience working as a midwife, helping mothers both before and after birth. We met with her to discuss the importance of strengthening the pelvic floor, a set of muscles that often weakens as a result of a childbirth. Like any other muscle, we need to activate it.
A guide to kegel exercises
How often should you do your kegel exercises?
The answer is: as often as possible! Preferably every day. Remember to work both on strength and endurance.
Squeeze 5 seconds, rest 5 seconds. Start off with repeating that 10 times every day.
To increase endurance
Squeeze 20 seconds, rest 20 seconds. The goal is to be able to squeeze and hold for 2 minutes. To hold for that long, use a little less strength.
Try to isolate the movement to your pelvic floor and avoid activating your glutes, abs or thigh muscles. And don’t forget to breath! Also, try squeezing when you cough, lift or carry something, and when you work your ab muscles.
Results might not show until three months after you’ve started with your exercises, and it might be up to a year before you’re back in full strength. When you start to feel stronger, reduce the frequency to 2-4 times a week.
To maintain motivation is probably the hardest part of working your pelvic floor. The most important thing, according to midwife Helena, is to make sure you get it into your daily routine. Try to make it a habit squeezing while doing another everyday chore. It can be while you’re feeding your baby, or brushing your teeth. Put up a note on your bathroom mirror or on the inside of the wardrobe door as a reminder.
If you need some more motivation, how about stronger, abdominal muscles and back, less risk for incontinence and a more enjoyable love-life.
Pssst – If you have injuries from giving birth, are experiencing pain when doing your exercises or have any other questions, reach out to your midwife.