What Causes Urinary Urgency Or Incontinence In Pregnancy
The most common cause of pregnancy-related urinary incontinence or urgency is weak pelvic floor muscles . This might be temporary as the pelvic floor muscles relax to prepare for labour .
Pelvic floor muscles support the uterus and help control the bladder and bowel. The weight of your baby can weaken these muscles.
What To Do About Postpartum Leaky Bladder
There’s no question that the body changes in countless ways throughout pregnancy. You’re growing a human inside of you for 40 weeks, after all. So naturally, things are going to be a little different than they were before. What many people don’t realize-or maybe just choose to blissfully ignore until the time comes-is that even more changes can happen postpartum. One big one that a whole bunch of moms can relate to, but maybe aren’t so likely to tell their friends over coffee? A leaky bladder. Specifically, a bladder that leaks when you laugh, cough, or sneeze. Forget it if you try to go for a run or make any sudden movements.
It may feel like straight-up bodily betrayal-what did you do to deserve this? But the thing is, bladder leakage postpartum is “extremely common,” Karen Duncan, M.D., assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Langone Health, tells SELF. It’s also notoriously underreported, she says.
The most important thing to know here is that you’re not alone, Tanaka J. Dune, M.D., urogynecologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, tells SELF. Also, there are things you can do about it.
% Of Women Cant Do A Kegel Properly We Do Them For You
Stress Urinary Incontinence is surprisingly common and affects 1 in 3 women. Your pelvic floor is a powerful set of muscles that play an important role in bladder control, core stability and intimate wellbeing. INNOVO takes the guesswork out of strengthening your tricky to isolate pelvic floor muscles, all from the comfort of your own home.
Don’t Miss: Cranberry Pills For Bladder Infection
Can Childbirth Weaken The Bladder
Labor and delivery may stretch, strain or even tear the muscles and the supporting tissues that hold the uterus, bladder and rectum in their proper place. The nerves may also be stretched and injured, weakening the signals allowing muscles to work properly. Some women have no damage from labor and delivery, some have damage to the nerves some have damage to the muscles and supporting ligaments some have damage to every one of these areas.
Here’s What You Can Do About Bladder Leakage After Giving Birth
While this has hopefully helped validate your experiences and made you feel less alone, you’re probably wondering what you can actually do about bladder leaks. The answer is: a lot.
Both experts emphasized that the vast majority of people can see improvements in pelvic strength and incontinence over time-typically within six months. But, they also stress, it’s important that you’re open with your ob/gyn and let them know what’s going on from the get-go so that they can help you and rule out any other contributing factors. For example, urinary tract infections can sometimes cause incontinence, says Dr. Dune, so you’ll want to make sure you’re treated properly if that’s the case.Dr. Duncan says that while many improve by their six-month postpartum visit, it can also take longer. “I tell women to give themselves 12 months after delivery,” says Dr .Dune.
During that time, you don’t have to just deal with light bladder leaks, and you don’t have to rely on clunky menstrual pads to catch any rogue drips. There are actually products made specifically for this purpose, like Poise Daily Liners for everyday use and Poise Active Collection pads with wings for exercise.
Recommended Reading: How Long Can A Puppy Hold His Bladder
Listen To Your Body It Will Have Changed
Not every body is the same, and not every birth is the same. Be guided by how you feel and how much energy you have. A mum whos recovering from an assisted birth, or a caesarean, will feel different and have different recovery symptoms from a mum whos had a straightforward vaginal birth.
Anything that feels wrong probably is so take it easy.
Consider The Possibility Of A Urinary Tract Infection
Sometimes, having no control over when you wee is caused by a urinary tract infection . UTIs can affect different parts of your urinary tract, including your bladder , urethra or kidneys . Most UTIs can be easily treated with antibiotics .
Symptoms of a UTI include:
- needing to wee suddenly or more often than usual
- blood in your wee
Contact your doctor or midwife immediately if you have any of these symptoms because you might need antibiotics .
Also Check: Tens Placement For Bladder Control
How Can I Stop Leaking Urine After Giving Birth
In general, there are 5 things you can do to help manage postpartum urinary incontinence.
- Illiococcygeus, and
These muscles act as a sort of hammock or sling to hold up your bladder and rectum.
Weakness in these muscles leads to pelvic floor dysfunction which can manifest as urine leakage and even pelvic organ prolapse, later in life.
So lets discuss the best pelvic floor muscle exercises you could start doing today.
As always make sure you have received clearance from your OBGYN prior to engaging in any exercise program in the postpartum period. Additionally, if any exercise causes pain or discomfort, stop.
The kegel is probably the most important pelvic floor exercise you could perform in the postpartum period.
It is super easy and literally can be done anywhere, at any time.
You can do it in the sitting, standing, quadruped, or lying position.
The idea is that you want to tighten the muscles of the pelvic floor as if you are trying to prevent yourself from peeing or pooping.
Dont engage the glutes or leg muscles- you really want to focus on the pelvic floor and not any other accessory muscles.
Modified side planks
The modified side plank is another great exercise to strengthen your pelvic floor postpartum.
It also has the advantage of strengthening your core muscles as well!
What Causes Urinary Retention
Hormonal changes in pregnancy cause the bladder muscle to lose some of its tone and so bladder capacity increases from the third month of pregnancy. This increase may not be obvious to the pregnant woman apart from experiencing an increased number of visits to the toilet to empty her bladder.
After delivery, the loss of tone of the bladder muscle can cause difficulties in emptying out.
There are procedures that may contribute to the development of difficulties in passing urine, such as: epidural for pain relief, long labour, prolonged second stage of labour, forceps or ventouse delivery and extensive vaginal lacerations. An effect of epidural or spinal anaesthetic is that it blocks normal sensation from the bladder and interferes with the normal bladder filling and emptying function. Bladder function should be closely monitored if an epidural is used.
Also Check: What Meds To Take For Bladder Infection
How Is Urinary Incontinence Treated
The treatment will depend on what kind of incontinence you have and how severe it is.
Straight after the birth, you will need to give the pelvic floor time to recover. Ice the perineal area for the first few days and have plenty of rest.
Then you can start with gentle pelvic floor contractions while you are lying down. Hold for 3 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, and repeat 3 times. Try to build up longer holds when you can. Doing these exercises may help prevent longer term bladder problems.
Simple changes to your lifestyle may also help, such as losing your pregnancy weight, eating more fibre, drinking more water and lifting less.
If your urinary incontinence doesnt get better, talk to your doctor. They may refer you to a physiotherapist or continence nurse. Longer term treatments for bladder weakness are exercises, medication or surgery.
How Do I Do Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises, also called pelvic floor exercises, help strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, uterus and bowels. By strengthening these muscles during pregnancy, you can develop the ability to relax and control the muscles in preparation for labor and birth.
Kegel exercises are highly recommended during the postpartum period to promote the healing of perineal tissues, increase the strength of the pelvic floor muscles and help these muscles return to a healthy state .
To do Kegel exercises, imagine you are trying to stop the flow of urine or trying not to pass gas. When you do this, you are contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor, and are practicing Kegel exercises. While doing these exercises, try not to move your leg, buttock or abdominal muscles. In fact, no one should be able to tell that you are doing Kegel exercises.
Kegel exercises should be done every day. Doing five sets of Kegel exercises a day is recommended. Each time you contract the muscles of the pelvic floor, hold for a slow count of 10 seconds and then relax. Repeat this 15 times for one set of Kegels.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/11/2020.
Don’t Miss: Antibiotics For Uti Bladder Infection
Recognize The Signs That You Are Transitioning Into Menopause
If you are in your 40s or 50s, educating yourself on the signs of menopause is extremely important. Knowing the symptoms will help you understand what your body is going through physically. It will also help you mentally prepare for the transition and make it more likely that you will alert your doctor if you begin experiencing symptoms.
The most common symptoms to look out for include hot flashes, or sudden waves of heat accompanied by a rapid heartbeat, night sweats, irregular sleep, the drying of vaginal tissue, and irregular menstrual periods until menopause is complete.
Sometimes, a skipped period can also cause heavy bleeding later on because the lining in the uterus builds up more than normal. Its therefore a good idea to rely on products that have been vetted to help you through this difficult time, such as One by Poise®. By providing all-day 2-in-1 protection for bladder and period leaks when you need it the most, these comfortable pads will help you manage whatever comes your way.
What Are Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises are another method that can be used to help control urinary incontinence. These exercises help tighten and strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can improve the function of the urethra and rectal sphincter.
One way to find the Kegel muscles is to sit on the toilet and begin urinating. Then stop urinating mid-stream. The muscles that you use to stop the flow of urine are the Kegel muscles. Another way to help locate the Kegel muscles is to insert a finger into the and try to make the muscles around your finger tighter.
To perform Kegel exercises, you should:
- Keep your abdominal, thigh, and buttocks muscles relaxed.
- Tighten the pelvic floor muscles.
- Hold the muscles until you count to 10.
- Relax the pelvic floor muscles until you count to 10.
Do 10 Kegel exercises in the morning, afternoon, and at night. They can be done anytime while driving or sitting at your desk. Women who do Kegel exercises tend to see results in four to six weeks.
Also Check: What To Do If You Have A Weak Bladder
Living With Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence does, unfortunately, become a long-term problem for some women. Here are some tips on living with it:
- use incontinence pads, which are made for urine leakage, rather than sanitary pads
- take a change of underwear or set of clothes when you go out
- know where toilets are located so you can find them quickly
- cross your legs when sneezing or laughing
- modify your exercise routine to avoid high impact exercises such as jumping
There Are Treatment Options
If your postpartum urinary incontinence is causing a problem, or not resolving in a timely manner, there are treatment options available. The first line of defence is to do Kegel exercises. Dr. Pourzand can help you learn how to do Kegels properly, if youre not sure. She will also give you guidance on how many you should do each day to build up strength and flexibility in the muscles of your pelvic floor. There are other treatments that may be appropriate, depending on numerous factors. One of the reasons so many of her patients prefer Dr. Pourzand is the highly personalized treatment she provides. Before suggesting treatment for your postpartum urinary incontinence, Dr. Pourzand will take your medical history, current medical needs, and your lifes circumstances into consideration. If you have questions or concerns regarding postpartum urinary stress incontinence, book your appointment with Dr. Pourzand today. We have two locations for your convenience, and you can use our online scheduling tool or call to make an appointment at the location that works best for you.
Also Check: Azo Bladder Control Pills Side Effects
When Should I See My Doctor
Most women who leak urine after childbirth find that it goes away in the first few weeks, as the stretched muscles and tissues recover.
However, for some women it can take months while other women find their pelvic floor never recovers fully.
If you are still experiencing leakage after 6 months, talk to your midwife or doctor. Dealing with it early on can reduce the risk of it becoming a life-long problem.
Stress incontinence is common, but many women are too embarrassed to talk about it. However, doctors, midwives, maternal and child health nurses and continence nurses are used to talking about it. If you are experiencing leakage, they will have suggestions that can help.
What Can I Do To Prevent Bladder Problems After Birth
There are some simple steps you can take during pregnancy to help prevent incontinence.
- Drink 6 to 8 cups of fluid a day, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Avoid drinks containing sugar or caffeine, as these can irritate the bladder.
- Eat a high fibre diet with 2 pieces of fruit, 5 serves of vegetables and 5 serves of cereals/bread per day.
- Make sure you have a healthy weight.
- excessive twisting and turning activities
- exercises that require you to hold your breath
- exercises that require sudden changes of direction or intensity
- exercises that make you use one leg more than the other, or lifting your hip while you are on your hands or knees
- exercises that involve standing on one leg for a period of time
- activities involving sudden changes in intensity
- exercises that increase the curve in your lower back
You May Like: Loss Of Bladder Control In Cancer Patients
Things To Know About Urinary Incontinence And Childbirth
Its not something your friends and family are likely to bring up at your baby shower, but urinary incontinence is a common side effect of pregnancy and childbirth. Here are five things you need to know about what to expect, and how to regain bladder control after youve given birth.
It starts during the third trimester.
Your bladder is supported by a network of muscles, nerves, and tissues that are weakened during pregnancy and labor. Normally, those pelvic muscles contract when pressure is placed on the bladder, preventing urine from leaking.
During the third trimester, the weight of your uterus places excessive pressure on your bladder and pelvic floor muscles. This, in addition to hormones produced by the body that make your tissues and joints more elastic for delivery, significantly weakens the pelvic floor muscles. Thats when you might start to notice leakage whenever you laugh hard, cough, sneeze, or exercise
It doesnt always go away after giving birth.
Most women notice a stop in urinary incontinence soon after delivery but thats not always the case. More than one third of new moms continue to leak urine postpartum. It can often take between three and six months to regain bladder control, but for some, urinary leakage persists for up to a year.
Women who have C-sections experience it too.
Kegel exercises can help.
Its not something you have to just live with.
What Causes Postpartum Incontinence
Giving birth is extremely tough on the body and can change a womanâs urinary control abilities. During pregnancy, the weight of the expanding uterus can weaken the strength of a womanâs pelvic floor muscles and cause urine to leak.
Giving birth can also affect those same muscles. Symptoms of incontinence may persist even after delivery. Hormones, genetics and other lifestyle factors, like smoking, can also make it more likely that a woman will experience incontinence after childbirth.
Don’t Miss: How To Ease Bladder Discomfort
Pelvic Floor Muscles And Bladder Control
When you need the toilet, your pelvic floor muscles relax to allow your urethral sphincter to open and release urine, then tighten back up once youve emptied your bladder.
The pelvic floor muscles also tighten when you laugh, cough, sneeze, jump or lift heavy weights to prevent any leaks.
When your pelvic floor is weak, these activities can often lead to involuntary leakage, known as stress incontinence.
Another result of a weak pelvic floor is urge incontinence when you feel a sudden, intense urge to pee that results in involuntary leaks.
So if youve ever experienced a leaky bladder, it could be because of a weak pelvic floor.
Pelvic floor problems can happen when the pelvic floor muscles are too weak, tight or stretched. The most common causes of pelvic floor dysfunction are pregnancy, childbirth, hormonal changes during menopause, or trauma .
Pelvic floor issues are a lot more common than youd think, with up to one in three women will experience pelvic floor issues at some point in their life.
The Tummy Gap Or Diastasis Recti
After giving birth, its common for your so-called 6 pack muscles to stretch apart, creating a gap. It happens because these muscles are stretched during 9 months of pregnancy and become strained during labour. This doesnt happen to everybody, but it is quite common. This separation leads to a bulge, usually below the belly button. This is called diastasis recti, or divarication.
If you think you might have diastasis rectis, its important that you get checked by a professional. Avoid exercises which can cause your stomach to bulge outwards, such as sit-ups, planks and straight-leg raises.
Your midwife can check your belly to see if you have diastasis recti. If the gap remains the same after 10 weeks, ask your doctor to refer you to a womens health physiotherapist. A physiotherapist will show you exercises to help shrink the gap and return to normal.
Its also a good idea to be mindful when lifting your baby in and out of their cot, car seat or the bath. You can read our blog with tips on bathing and washing your baby.
You May Like: What Does A Tumor In The Bladder Mean