Exercises for Managing Physical Complications During Pregnancy - Pelvic Floor Muscles (Kegels aka "The Stop Test")
A good way to test your ability to do a Kegel is to perform what's called the stop test, and that's just where you try to stop the flow of urine midstream. If you can stop the flow of urine midstream, that means you've identified the right muscles, and you have good strength, and you just want to build on that. If you can slow down the flow of urine, then you know you've got the right muscles, but they're a bit weak. And if when you try to do the stop test, you cannot change the flow of urine at all, then you have marked weakness and you need to do kegels. You may actually want to see a specialist to get further training and how to do that pelvic floor strengthening exercises. You may do this stop test occasionally once a week. You do not want to exercise your muscles in that way because it does go against your body's natural reflexes. It could increase your chances of urinary tract infection. That is not an issue if you are just doing it, you know here and there to test your strength, but you would not want to exercise that way. And so when normally have people do with kegels, is just to squeeze those muscles like you're trying to stop the flow of urine. And you want to hold that for a good 10 seconds. It's important to breathe normally, you don't want to have to hold your breath just to do the Kegel. And then relax. Good. And then again, tighten those muscles like you're trying to stop the flow of urine. Make sure you're breathing normally and relax. And if you hold for five seconds, you want to relax for five seconds. If you hold for 10 seconds, you want to relax for 10 seconds. Equal rest. And then you'll notice that your abdomen is tightening up a little bit your abdomen is drawing in a little bit and that's fine; the pelvic floor and the abdominal muscles work together and you can actually get a little contraction there, even without trying. And then relax. Good job.