Chapter 4: Helping women stay healthy
Squeezing exercise (Kegels)
The squeezing exercise strengthens
muscles in the pelvis and vagina.
Doing the squeezing exercise can help
I’m doing my squeezing
exercise and Amana
doesn’t even know.
• prevent leaking urine.
• prevent the vagina from tearing
• speed healing after birth.
• increase sexual pleasure.
A woman can learn this exercise
while she is urinating. As the urine
comes out, she should squeeze the muscles in her vagina until the urine stops.
Once she learns how to squeeze these muscles, she should only do it when she is
The squeezing exercise is helpful at all times, not just during pregnancy.
If possible, women should practice at least 4 times a day, doing at least
10 squeezes each time.
Sleep, rest, and relax
Sleep and rest help women stay strong and resist sickness. Getting enough rest also
helps prevent high blood pressure, sick babies, and other problems.
Many women must work all day in fields, factories,
or stores. Then they must also haul water, find fuel,
mill grain, cook, clean, and care for their families.
This can be very hard at any time. It can be especially
hard for pregnant women who need more rest than
Explain to pregnant women that it is important for
them to rest for a few minutes every 1 or 2 hours.
Help the woman’s family understand why it is
important for her to rest and sleep.
Enjoy the pregnancy
If women have enough food, rest, and care, pregnancy
can be a wonderful time.
Many communities have rituals and practices that honor a
pregnant woman. People help her with her work, bring her
special foods, or give her massages or gifts. Customs like
these help a woman get the food and rest she needs, and
help her feel good about herself and her pregnancy.
A Book for Midwives (2010)