Kegels & Pregnancy
I know I should just ask my midwife about this, but my very caring husband insists on supporting me at every midwife appointment I have (so not complaining about having an involved baby daddy, but still) and I’m too embarrassed to leave this message with her receptionist. So, could you maybe find out for me? Thanks.
I am 25 weeks pregnant and have been doing my Kegels more-or-less faithfully this whole pregnancy. However, the last few weeks or so, they have become increasingly difficult to do. Like…those muscles just don’t want to lift, and I have to be in a really weird position to actually work them. Is that normal or is my jay defective? Are Kegels harder to do while you’re pregnant?
I have looked at various Kegel exercisers online, such as Kegelmaster and Ben Wa balls. Kegelmaster claims to be safe for pregnant women, but still gives the Ask-Your-Doctor-Anyway disclaimer. I can’t find anything about Ben Wa balls during pregnancy.
Can you give me some tips on how to uh, keep everything ship-shape down there?
Confessions on a Pelvic Floor
I’m typing this on a train, so please excuse any BumPY tRack reLAted tYPos, GoOooOD lord, and I need to make this semi-shorter than usual before the other dudes in Business Class notice all my kegel-related Googling on my other browser tabs.
1) Oh, just bring your questions up to your midwife, in front of your husband. Because…honey, it’s high time to start getting over ANY and ALL embarrassment about stuff like this. I mean, oh my God, the stuff he’s going to see, and know about, and have to deal with before, during and after you deliver…you really, REALLY shouldn’t be worried about him knowing that you do pelvic floor exercises. Kegels are good for sex, bladder control, productive contractions during labor…and absolutely NOTHING compared to stuff like mucus plugs! And bloody show! And pooping on the delivery table! And tears, crowning, placentas, oh my! I’m not saying you should be embarrassed about any of THAT stuff either — it’s all natural and it happens and blah dee blah — I’m just saying you really, really need to get over being embarrassed to talk openly with your doctor about any and all concerns in front of him. He’s gonna be there when things get REAL, you know? (And if he’s at all like my husband, he’ll probably be secretly happy to hear that you’re taking care of yourself in…that department, if you know what I mean.)
2) It is perfectly normal for Kegels to get a bit more difficult and awkward at different stages of pregnancy, and it’s usually just due to the baby moving into a new, lower position. I remember being terribly bothered down there right around the same point you’re at, with the constant peeing starting all over again because there were suddenly ACTUAL BABY PARTS bumping into my bladder and pubic bone. In all likelihood? Your baby will shift positions again in a couple weeks and things will get easier in the vagina-clenching department. (And then probably awkward again, in the late third trimester.) If you’re still worried though, ASK YOUR MIDWIFE.
3) I have zero experience with either of the exercise devices you mentioned, pregnant or otherwise, unfortunately. I went about things the old-fashioned way, doing Kegels throughout the day whenever I thought of them. A lot of websites and books recommend doing up to 100 a day — I am sure I fell far short of that mark a lot of times. I did have c-sections so I can’t really comment on any payoff during labor (although for the 45 minutes I did push, I got LOADS of praise for how strong and effective my pushes were) (until my 10-pound posterior-facing child got himself all wedged up in mah pelvic bones). And obviously, I had no post-birth stretching-out worries to contend with. Still, though, c-section mothers are just as prone to post-pregnancy incontinence as anyone, and I am happy to overshare and report that everything is Just Fine in that department too. If you’re still interested in the Kegelmaster though, ASK YOUR MIDWIFE.