« Previous Page
The pelvic floor is a "hammock" of muscles attached to the
pelvic girdle. These muscles hold the pelvic organs in place. Pelvic floor, or
Kegel, exercises strengthen your lower pelvic muscles. This helps prevent a
long period of pushing during labor.1 Start doing
daily Kegel exercises while you are pregnant, and continue doing them after
See a picture of the
pelvic floor muscles.
pregnancy and delivery, the pelvic floor can become stretched and weakened,
commonly causing urine control problems (urinary incontinence) for months to years after childbirth. A weakened pelvic
floor can also allow one or more pelvic organs to sag, as in the case of
uterine prolapse. Doing regular Kegel exercises helps
prevent urine control problems (incontinence) after childbirth.2, 3
Kegel exercises are only effective when done regularly.
They can be performed while traveling, at work, or at odd moments during the
day. For example, Kegel—creator of the exercises—recommended doing 5 pelvic
floor exercises when you first wake up, 5 more when you get out of bed, and 5
pelvic floor exercises every half hour all day long.3
Salvesen KÅ, Mørkved S (2004). Randomized controlled
trial of pelvic floor muscle training during pregnancy. BMJ, 329(7462): 378–380.
Mørkved S, et al. (2003). Pelvic floor muscle training
during pregnancy to prevent urinary incontinence: A single-blind randomized
controlled trial. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 101(2):
Lentz GM (2007). Physiology of micturition, diagnosis
of voiding dysfunction, and incontinence: Surgical and nonsurgical treatment.
In VL Katz et al., eds., Comprehensive Gynecology, 5th
ed., pp. 537–568. Philadelphia: Mosby Elsevier.
July 23, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.