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What is a kegel and how to do them – 2024

Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor exercises, are super beneficial during pregnancy. The pelvic floor muscles play a crucial role in supporting your uterus, bladder, and bowels, and they can be weakened during pregnancy due to the increased pressure and hormonal changes.

Diagram of the pelvis

Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through kegel exercises can help alleviate some common issues that pregnant individuals may experience, such as urinary incontinence and pelvic pain. Here’s how and why to do kegels when pregnant:

How to do kegels when pregnant

Find the right muscles

The first step is to identify your pelvic floor muscles. The easiest way to do this is imagine you are stopping a wee mid flow, the muscles you would use to do this are your pelvic floor muscles.

Get in a comfortable position

You can perform kegel exercises in various positions, such as sitting, lying down, or standing. Choose a position that is comfortable for you.

Contract the muscles

To do a kegel exercise, contract your pelvic floor muscles as if you’re trying to stop the flow of urine (but don’t actually practice it when you are midflow!). You should feel a lifting sensation in your pelvic area.

Hold and release

Hold the contraction for about 5 seconds (or as long as you can comfortably) and then release. Rest for about 5 seconds between contractions.


Start with a set of 10 contractions and gradually work your way up to three sets of 10 contractions per day.

Why you should do kegel exercises during pregnancy:

Strengthen pelvic floor muscles

Pregnancy can weaken the pelvic floor muscles due to the added pressure from the growing uterus. kegels can help strengthen these muscles, providing support to your pelvic organs and reducing the risk of complications like urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

Reduce urinary incontinence

Many pregnant individuals experience urinary incontinence, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. Kegel exercises can help control and prevent this issue by improving bladder control.

Prepare for labour

Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can aid in the pushing phase of labour, potentially making it more efficient and less strenuous.

Enhance postpartum recovery

Regular kegel exercises during pregnancy can contribute to a quicker recovery after childbirth, as strong pelvic floor muscles can help with healing and reduce postnatal symptoms like urinary leakage.

Improved sexual function

After childbirth, strong pelvic floor muscles can enhance sexual satisfaction for both you and your partner ;)

Remember, it’s essential to perform Kegel exercises correctly. If you’re unsure whether you’re doing them correctly or if you have any concerns about your pelvic health during pregnancy, speak to your midwife or a women’s health physio who specialises in pelvic floor rehabilitation. They can provide guidance and personalised recommendations based on your specific needs and circumstances.