The location of your pelvic floor muscles.
The Kegel exercise strengthens your pelvic floor.
These muscles form a figure eight around your urethra, vagina and anus and support your bladder and uterus. (See drawing.)
Pregnancy and birth can cause these muscles to lose tone. This can result in discomfort and a loss of bladder control.
Doing Kegel exercises during pregnancy and after your baby is born may reduce these effects.
This exercise can also help you recognize if these muscles are tense or relaxed. It is helpful to be able to relax your pelvic floor when you are pushing in labor.
The first time you do this exercise, empty your bladder. While still sitting on the toilet, imagine that you have to stop the flow of urine. The muscles that you tighten are your pelvic floor muscles.
After you have identified these muscles, you can do the Kegel exercise anywhere. You can stand, sit or lie down.
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, seventh edition, ob-ah-90026
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts
If you keep starting and stopping the flow of urine, you could get a urinary bladder infection.