Kegel exercises are great for all men and women! Pelvic floor workouts set pregnant women up for an easier and faster postpartum recovery, can apparently prevent pelvic organ prolapse, and increases sexual enjoyment for both genders. Another important thing Kegels do is prevent incontinence during pregnancy and after. A new clinical trial just confirmed this is more than an old wives' tale. Signe Stafne from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology set out to get an answer to the question many pregnant women ask themselves do Kegel exercises really prevent incontinence, both urinary and fecal? Are Kegel exercises worth doing?
Stafne and his research team recruited 855 expectant mothers in their second trimester to take part in the trial. There were two groups. The first received run-of-the-mill prenatal care that also included some instructions about how to perform Kegel (or pelvic floor, same thing) exercises, and written information about why Kegels can help pregnant women. The other group got something more special a weekly aerobics class, that also included strength training and Kegel exercises! Later on, both groups answered some questions about their pregnancy symptoms. You know, stuff that every pregnant woman loves to talk about, like if they leak a little pee when they cough or laugh :). The questionnaire revealed that 11 percent of the ladies in the workout group had trouble controlling their bladder, while 19 percent of the written information group had trouble.
Eight percent may not sound like a big deal at first sight, but the message is still pretty valuable: Doing Kegel exercises is a whole lot more useful than reading a paper about how doing them helps strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. What's interesting is that, of the exercise group ladies who already had urinary incontinence when they started the trial, 24 percent had stress incontinence during their third trimester. This is compared to 35 percent in the group that didn't do the workout sessions. The researchers' conclusion? Quite obviously,"the results from the present trial indicate that pregnant women should do pelvic floor muscle training to prevent and treat urinary incontinence in late pregnancy." So do those Kegels, ladies! We know they are a bit of a pain, but they are more than worth it!