New mothers may one day be prescribed orgasms to help their muscles recover from childbirth.
That’s according to research that suggests climax can strengthen their pelvic floor muscles.
Indian academics asked a group of first-time mothers to have sex or masturbate in addition to doing their traditional Kegel exercises.
Another group of women were told to just stick to the traditional exercises, which involve repeatedly tensing and relaxing the muscles around the bladder, bottom and vagina.
Results revealed that the women who achieved orgasm had stronger pelvic floor muscles. They also claimed to have a better sex life.
By presenting their findings in a journal, the team presents from TSS Shripad Hegde Kadave Institute of Medical Sciences in Sirsi claimed that orgasms ‘could prove beneficial to the quality of life’ of women who have just given birth.
Being pregnant and giving birth can damage the pelvic floor – a group of muscles around the vagina, bladder and floor.
Women with a weak pelvic floor may suffer from urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and reduced sexual satisfaction.
To help stop this, women are advised to do Kegel exercises, a series of movements that contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles to rebuild their strength.
New mothers counseled to orgasm to aid postpartum recovery reported better pelvic floor function and sexual satisfaction than those who did traditional exercises alone
Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the bladder, bottom and vagina or penis.
These muscles can weaken after pregnancy, leading to urinary incontinence, a prolapse where organs slide and bulge into the vagina, and less satisfying sex.
Kegels can be done lying down, sitting or standing.
To do so, you must:
Squeeze and pull the bottom as if holding the wind.
Squeeze around your vagina and bladder (urethra), as if stopping the flow of urine or squeezing during intercourse.
Long squeezes – hold as long as you can, but no longer than 10 seconds, then relax.
Short squeezes – quickly squeeze the muscles and then immediately release them. Do this until your muscles get tired.
Aim to build up to 10 repetitions of each exercise, at least three times a day.
While Kegels, also called pelvic floor exercises, are most often recommended for women, especially after pregnancy, some men also benefit from them.
They are usually recommended for men recovering from surgery to remove their prostate for cancer.
In a six-month experiment, researchers recruited 55 women who had just had their first child via an uncomplicated vaginal delivery.
They were divided into two groups of roughly equal size.
Group one was told to do daily Kegels to strengthen their pelvic floor, while group two was told to do daily Kegels and have regular orgasms.
Women in group two were told that they could achieve this orgasm alone or with their partner.
They appear to have taken the doctor’s orders seriously, with the women in Group 2 climaxing an average of 54 times during the six-month study.
In comparison, women doing Kegels alone had only seven orgasms in that entire time.
The researchers theorized that the involuntary contractions resulting from a sexual climax would help heal the pelvic floor in the same way that voluntary contractions from Kegels do.
To test this, women in the experiment had their pelvic floor strength measured monthly and also completed a survey ranking their sexual satisfaction.
While both groups experienced improved pelvic floor function and sexual satisfaction over the course of the study, the orgasmic group experienced greater gains.
At the start of the study, only women in the exercise group had baseline mean pelvic floor contraction and relaxation scores of 1.12 and 0.81 out of 3.
Women in the exercise and orgasm group had a mean baseline score of 1.24 for pelvic floor contraction and 1.07 for relaxation.
After six months women on the orgasm regimen scored 2.55 out of 3 for pelvic floor contraction and 1.93 for pelvic floor relaxation at the end of the study.
In comparison, women on Kegels alone scored only 2.23 and 1.65 respectively on their pelvic floor scores.
The sexual satisfaction survey was scored out of 30, ranked aspects such as desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm and satisfaction.
Women asked to orgasm scored an average of 22.17, while those on Kegels alone scored only 19.11.
Lead author Professor Gajanana Bhat, an expert in urology and sexual health, hailed the findings as proving that orgasms can help women restore pelvic floor function after childbirth.
“We are the first to use this natural orgasm process to improve postpartum pelvic floor muscle strength and sexual function,” he said.
“As the first and only study to address this issue, we were able to prove that sexually induced orgasms, if initiated early in the postpartum period, could prove beneficial to these women’s quality of life.”
While both groups of women experienced improved pelvic floor strength, those who were asked to supplement them with orgasms (Group 2, the red line on the chart) had greater average gains over time
The same was true for sexual satisfaction with the orgasm regimen. Group 2 scored employment out of 30 than the exercise only cohort
The study, published in Journal of Sexual Medicinewas limited by the small sample of women in the experiment with the authors calling for further research.
The NHS says there is no fixed limit on how long to wait to have sex after having a baby.
However, for penetrative vaginal sex, it is important that it does not hurt, as the vagina may be sore or healing for some time after birth.
For example, some women need stitches after giving birth due to lacerations or cuts made by medical personnel, which can take up to 12 weeks to heal.
Mothers and partners are advised to take it slow with women encouraged to explore themselves with their fingers first to make sure sex won’t hurt.
Lubrication may also be necessary due to the hormonal changes the body experiences after childbirth, leaving the vagina drier than usual.
If penetration hurts, couples are advised to engage in other forms of sexual activity, such as mutual masturbation.
Couples or women who are worried about having sex after having a baby are encouraged to talk to their doctor.
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