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The Exercise That Could Make Labor Easier

by Kristina Johnson

The human body, in my opinion, has a serious design flaw. It doesn't really make sense to me that something as large as a baby is meant to come out of something as small as a vagina. And yet, it's been happening every minute of every day for thousands of years. With the grueling task of delivering a baby ahead, many pregnant women are looking for anything that'll help make it easier. One suggestion that often comes up is Kegel exercises. But do Kegels help labor?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Kegels exercises are pelvic floor muscle training, and there is some evidence to suggest they will indeed help you have a smoother delivery. The American Pregnancy Association noted that pregnant women who did Kegels reported having an easier labor. Enhancing your ability to control your pelvic floor muscles through Kegels can make it easier to push when the time comes.

Not only that, but one study in the British Medical Journal also showed that Kegels can make labor shorter for some pregnant women. What pregnant woman wouldn't sign up for that? Had I known that my labor would eventually stall after 12 difficult hours, I definitely would have listened to my Lamaze coach when she suggested doing Kegels regularly.

Kegels have other great benefits, too. Does pregnancy make you pee yourself whenever you laugh too hard, or maybe when you sneeze? Yeah, I've been there. Baby Center noted that you can do Kegels to help with incontinence and even battle hemorrhoids.

The most important thing to remember about Kegel exercises, however, is that you have to do them the right way for them to work. Doing Kegels incorrectly can be much worse than not doing them at all, according to Women's Health. The first thing you need to do is understand which muscles you'll be working out with Kegels, which Prevention suggested doing by beginning to pee and then stopping mid-way through. The muscles you use to clench are your pelvic floor muscles. If you can do that and squeeze for up to 10 seconds, you can do a Kegel.

Fit Pregnancy suggested doing 20 reps of Kegels for ten seconds each, five times a day. If you're interested in doing Kegels to help you get through pregnancy and childbirth, another fantastic thing about them is that they're so discrete you can do them literally anywhere.