Prev Next
Kegels and Pregnancy

Kegels & Pregnancy

By Amalah

Dear Amalah,

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?

Thanks!
Confessions on a Pelvic Floor

Advice Smackdown ArchivesI’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.

********


If you’re looking for ideas and recommendations for a baby registry, don’t miss our Baby Registry Checklist.

If you’re considering an online baby registry, we recommend our affiliate Amazon’s Baby Registry, which offers free 90-day returns on baby store purchases. You can even add items from other websites onto to your baby registry.

Amazon Baby Registry 1

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

icon icon
chat bubble icon

Comments

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Karen
Guest
Karen

I was totally lazy with Kegel’s too and had no problem pushing (20 min) and no tearing (small head). Please don’t throw daggers at me!! When is that incontinence supposed to show up? I thought it wasn’t until later on??? I’ve managed to totally block out most of the discomfort of my pregnancy so I can’t remember about the third term. My kid rode way low for the last 8 weeks and it was just miserable though.

Ms. K
Guest
Ms. K

Kegels are good and all…but I think keeping yourself in good shape generally is good for labor, too. During labor and then during recovery, too! Pushing the baby out isn’t necessarily  even a voluntary thing …my whole chest-abdomen-thigh-vajayjay area was contracting in concert to get the baby out. The pushes would start at my solar plexus/lower chest and ripple down my belly and thighs (squeezing all the air out of my lungs and making a totally horrendous noise…)

I’m sure Kegels help tone those muscles, but so does walking/swimming/weight lifting/yoga/dancing/whatever else you do for exercise while you’re pregnant.

Good luck!

b
Guest

Can’t add a whole lot other than to agree in asking the midwife in front of the husband! I found it helped my husband get a bit more exposed to the “mechanics” involved with having a baby- and he was better prepared when the real action started with the delivery!

tasterspoon
Guest
tasterspoon

Great question! The Girlfriend’s Guide really scared me, she says repeatedly how nothing is ever the same, if you know what I mean, and how her doctor surgically tightened her up after each delivery, so I’d also like to know whether there’s more I can be doing to avoid that. My husband and I are pretty sporty, so I just approach this as another workout and he isn’t the least bit squeamish on the topic of Kegels. (Pooping on the table, though, and seeing my hoo-hah stretch that much – yeesh, I have already told him I want him UP… Read more »

Confessions on a Pelvic Floor
Guest
Confessions on a Pelvic Floor

Gah! I know I have to get over having my husband right there for all the personal vaggy stuff, but all I want is five minutes to privately rap with my midwife. Having the personal woman’s touch is sort of why I switched to a midwife anyway…and I’m not getting it yet…which is why I’m now taking my advice-seeking to the Internet. BTW, Amalah didn’t actually answer my question, so I will take my answer now from the peanut gallery. Anyone have experience with Ben Wa balls or the Kegelmaster? Or since @tasterspoon mentioned it, vaginal condition in the 6… Read more »

lindswing
Guest
lindswing

I, too, just stuck to good old kegels, and I did a LOT of them while pregnant.  However, I only pushed for under 30 minutes which caught everyone off guard after my long, long labor.  Due to lack of prep/stretch/oil time, I tore horribly in lots of directions.  Vaginal condition 6 weeks postpartum?  NOT SO GOOD.  I also gave up on kegels after I delivered, which was a huge mistake.  Incontinence has definitely improved since I’ve recommitted my life to kegeling, but it continues to be a problem.  I still have to kegel to keep from peeing my pants a… Read more »

Hil
Guest
Hil

Part of what is making this answer hard to find on the internet is that “Kegel exercisers”, “Kegel weights”, and “Ben Wa balls” are not usually terms used in medical literature- “vaginal cones” is the term you need to search if you want more formal medical advice instead of information from companies selling products. If you’re so inclined, you can search pubmed.org for research studies.  With a quick search, I could not find one research trial that used vaginal cones during pregnancy- the results I found were all about postpartum use.  This at the very least suggests that a conservative… Read more »

Kathleen
Guest
Kathleen

I’m so amused that pubmed got involved! A) just a thought – MEN can do Kegels too – I still remember my husband laughing at the poor couple we were paired with in birth class when the instructor pointed that out – I’ve been benefitting from those since long before this! B) Six weeks postpartum- even with kegels ahead of time, still needed to think ahead and kegel before I laughed hard or sneezed- but I was very glad that I knew exactly where those muscles were. Six months postpartum, pretty much back to pre-pg condition. C) I’m glad somebody… Read more »

Suzy Q
Guest
Suzy Q

Ben Wah balls! Ha! Haven’t heard them referenced since the ’80s. They are (or were) an asian sex toy. Not helpful, I know, but thanks anyway for taking me back to my adventurous youth.

Lizzie
Guest
Lizzie

My dad had prostate surgery the week before my baby was born, so it was kind of joke between him, my mom, my husband and I about who would be incontinent longer. (It may sound weird to be so open, but we are all in the medical field plus dealing with cancer can do that…) He actually won the bladder control prize, but I’m happy to report that within a couple of weeks postpartum I was pretty much back to normal in the bladder-holding department too! Now as far as the general condition of things “down there”…another story entirely. Contrary… Read more »

Sharon
Guest
Sharon

A friend of mine sells something called Gyneflex, which is amazing for tightening pelvic floor muscles. I looked around on their website a bit and it seems that they recommend starting use of the Gyneflex 4-6 weeks postpartum. I’m gathering from this that in general such things should not be placed Up There until after the current resident has been evicted. In any event, definitely check with the medical professional, and good luck!!

Tasha Mulligan
Guest

Hey guys, I’m a women’s health physical therapist and I have to shout out – There Is So Much More Than Kegels To DO! Check out http://www.hab-it.com to read on pelvic floor rehab during pregnancy and following delivery. Did you know that your pelvic floor muscle can stretch up to 3x their original length during late term pregnancy and delivery? We need to rehab these muscles following delivery to get them firing appropriately again to prevent urinary leakage or prolapse down the road. It involves a 2 step kegel, posture, and an understanding of all of your anatomy. It is… Read more »

Holly
Guest
Holly

Glad someone asked this. I’m 23 weeks pregnant and wasn’t sure whether kegel exercises during pregnancy were recommended, forbidden, required, …? Had no clue. Now I know, and I’ll start doing them. Thanks!

Ruth
Guest
Ruth

There are loads of physical exercises that can be beneficial during pregnancy.