There are certain things that we may not have learnt from our parents or during bridal showers because they are thought to be obvious. Yet, these things matter to a pregnant woman and a woman who is sexually active. Our staff reporter explores the subject.
I stumbled upon Kegel exercise when I was getting prepared to fall pregnant with our second child in one of the four thick books that my husband bought for me. The title of the book was Encyclopedia of Health and Education for the Family Vol 2.
Then I immediately cross-checked the information on the Internet – just in case the authors, Dr I. Aguilar and Dr H. Galbes were just trying to sell their books. Several websites such as Mayo Clinic and WebMD collaborated the book’s claim. As such, I would like to share this knowledge with every reader regardless of sex, considering that Kegel’s exercises benefit men as well.
What are Kegel’s exercises?
According to the book, it is the type of exercise that helps both men and women to strengthen their perennial muscles. However, emphasis is on women. With pregnancy, child birth and an active sexual life, the perennial muscles or muscles between the genitals and anus tend to collapse. This muscle is supposed to be naturally tensed to support the internal pelvic organs and close the vagina if a couple is to enjoy love making.
“Before beginning and when intercourse is taking place, the woman should be able to contract the muscles. This will provide her and her partner with increased pleasure,” reads the book in part.
According to Dr Frank Taulo, who is a gynaecologist based in Malawi, a woman, whether pregnant or not, is encouraged to do Kegel’s exercises to strengthen cervical muscles.
“A woman should be able to contain urine that may easily come out due to giving birth, pressure, chronic cough and post-menopausal effects. The latter comes in due to a reduction in estrogen,” Taulo says.
The two authors concur with Taulo in the book:
“…the exercises provide increased sexual enjoyment and improve future births by strengthening the perineum. It also improves future births by strengthening the perineum. It also improves the condition of lowered sexual organs which can be torn or stretched during childbirth or can shrink during menopause,” the book reads in part.
Can men benefit too?
Kegel exercises have been linked to improved bladder control and sexual abnormalities in men.
“Studies have shown they help improve the strength of your erection, circulation and have been used for decades as a standard technique with erectile dysfunction concerns. Kegel’s have also been shown in studies to be effective for many men who struggle with premature ejaculation,” says Dr Hernando Chaves, a clinical sexologist.
How are they done?
In a horizontal position
The legs should be slightly bent, separated and relaxed along with the buttocks (fig 1). This position is recommended after normal child birth.
Or in the same position someone should hold your knees (fig 1a). Try to push your knees together while your companion prevents you from doing so. Do this five times and increase to 20.
If you have a torn perineum due to normal child birth, do not do Kegel’s until you are completely healed.
In a seated position
You can do the exercise on a chair in the bedroom. To know that you are doing the exercise the right way, introduce a finger in the V to feel the pressure of the contraction (fig 2).
The easiest way to begin is to do them while seated on a toilet; knees separated about two feet from each other. For the woman to know that she is contracting the right muscles, she should be able to stop the flow of the urine. If she is able to contract the tummy muscles then she is doing it the wrong way.
You can do Kegel’s while seated on your desk or any chair without anyone noticing it.
In a standing position
Once you can do these contractions, the exercise can be done in a standing position any time.