Don’t sneeze at Kegels – Small packages: health, nutrition, fitness, news and trends – Kegel exercises strengthen pelvic floor after childbirth

Don’t sneeze at Kegels – Small packages: health, nutrition, fitness, news and trends – Kegel exercises strengthen pelvic floor after childbirth – Brief Article

Some women are alarmed to find that labor has inflicted enough pelvic-floor damage to cause sexual dysfunction, urinary incontinence or pelvic pain–conditions that sometimes last years after childbirth. Education can help many new mothers avoid those surprises, says Roger P. Goldberg, M.D., M.P.H., author of Ever Since I Had My Baby: Understanding, Treating, and Preventing Aftereffects of Pregnancy and Childbirth (Three Rivers Press, 2003). We asked Goldberg to share his expertise:

What causes pelvic-floor damage? Large babies, excessive pushing during labor, the use of forceps and episiotomy all increase the risk of damage to the muscles, tissues and nerves that keep pelvic organs in place.

Do Kegel exercises really help strengthen the pelvic floor? Kegels are effective to some degree, but you must practice them during pregnancy. After delivery you temporarily lose some nerve and muscle function, which can make doing Kegels more difficult.

When should I seek help? When symptoms persist three to six months after birth–or after you finish breastfeeding. Several symptoms, including incontinence, may be exacerbated by your hormone status during breastfeeding.–S.R.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Weider Publications

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group