Childbirth and incontinence

You may be experiencing urinary incontinence during pregnancy (prenatal urinary incontinence) and even for several months after giving birth (postpartum urinary incontinence). Don't worry, it's perfectly normal but you should still inform your doctor. Your doctor can help put your mind at ease by educating and supporting you during this common pregnancy occurrence.

Prenatal urinary incontinence

If you are suffering from urinary incontinence during pregnancy, you likely already know that you're urinating more often due to added pressure to your bladder as your baby shifts around and as your uterus grows.

You may accidently leak urine when you exert yourself, for example, by coughing, laughing, lifting, or even sneezing! This type of urinary incontinence is known as stress incontinence.

During late pregnancy it is not uncommon to suddenly feel a wave of urgency to urinate because the added pressure on your bladder triggers the nerve signals to tighten the bladder muscles, causing urge incontinence (also known as overactive bladder).

There a few things you can try to help yourself control incontinence during pregnancy:

  • Try Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to improve bladder control.
  • Lean forward on the toilet when you're going to the washroom, which can help empty your bladder more completely.
  • Wear an absorbent product for added protection.
  • Do not drink less fluid as dehydration can lead to many other problems and definitely should be avoided, especially during your pregnancy.

Postpartum urinary incontinence

This occurs after you have given birth and you are having problems controlling your bladder. You leak when you exert yourself. Don't worry, this is common and occurs in more than one-third of new moms.

Postpartum urinary incontinence can last for months after giving birth because your pregnancy and labour have weakened muscles around your bladder and pelvis that help with bladder control. Not to mention that a shrinking uterus can directly apply pressure to your bladder!

Make certain you do your Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and to train your bladder, both of which can improve bladder control. Wearing an absorbent product for added protection while you work on Kegel exercises and bladder training will bring a level of assurance and comfort if accidents occur.

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