When you are pregnant, you tend to get a lot of advice from people. But few people will talk about bladder control problems during pregnancy and after birth. It's almost like a taboo topic to talk about.
Bladder control problem is commonly known as urinary incontinence and it involves the involuntary loss of urine. Approximately 40% of pregnant women experience urinary incontinence. It may be infrequent and mild for some pregnant women. But it may be more severe for others, leaving large puddles of urine on the floor uncontrollably.
Now you may be having some questions in mind with regards to pregnancy urinary incontinence.
How does this happen and will it affect me and my baby?
Don't worry. Read on to learn more about why you may have incontinence during or after pregnancy, what it means for you and baby, and how you can cope. This is the Ultimate Guide you'll need to overcome bladder control problems!
When Does Urinary Incontinence Start?
You may have observed soon after pregnancy, you’re running to the ladies more often than usual. Gradually, you experience difficulty with bladder control, and leakage happens even more frequent during the last trimester. This is the period when your growing baby puts extra pressure on your bladder, leading to urinary incontinence.
When this happens, don’t worry or be embarrassed! Involuntary leakage during pregnancy can be annoying, messy and somewhat mortifying. But it's normal and mostly temporary. In fact, you can take actions to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to prevent incontinence!
What Causes Urinary Incontinence During Pregnancy?
Your bladder sits right above your pelvic bones. It is supported by your pelvic floor muscles. It fills with urine throughout the day while the sphincter keeps your bladder closed until when you're using the bathroom. Pregnancy incontinence happens when your pelvic floor muscles are too weak to control your bladder movements.
Some of the common causes include:
Hormonal changes, especially fluctuating levels of relaxin and progesterone (which help control your bladder), are mainly to blame. During pregnancy, your urethra and bladder may have moved due to hormonal changes, leading to incontinence.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
According to recent studies, 30 to 40% of women who didn’t treat their UTI completely will develop symptoms during pregnancy. Incontinence is a symptom of UTI.
Some women leak when coughing, sneezing, exercising, or laughing. These small physical movements put extra pressure on your bladder, which causes stress incontinence. Furthermore, your baby also puts extra pressure on your bladder as they grow bigger.
So if you’re going outdoors, make sure to pack an extra pair of undies to prevent public embarrassment!
What Can I Do About My Pregnancy Urinary Incontinence?
Pregnancy incontinence can be prevented with proper lifestyle changes and bladder control management. You don't have to seek surgery or medications immediately. Here are some non-invasive methods to curb leakages during and after your pregnancy!
Make Effort to Change Your Lifestyle
First and foremost, speak to your gynecologist with regards to your weight gain with the growth of your baby. Should you be gaining weight too excessively, try to cut down and keep your weight gain moderate. Since extra pounds gain put extra pressure on your bladder, it is vital to keep weight gain in check.
Drink at least 10-12 glasses of fluids daily. Cutting back on fluids to control the peeing only makes you vulnerable to dehydration and urinary tract infections.
Consume more yogurt, fiber, fruits, and vegetables. We all know that a healthy diet includes eating more fruits and vegetables alongside our favorite meat. But specifically for you, consuming the mentioned food can minimize constipation during pregnancy. This ensures that your full bowels don't put added pressure on your bladder.
Last but not least, avoid all these food if possible: coffee, citrus, tomatoes, soft drinks, and alcohol. These are known to cause irritation to your bladder and make it harder for you to control those leaks.
Bladder Control Training
Learning to control your bladder can help you avoid public leakage mishaps. Most women can wait three to six hours between urinating. Bladder training retrains the way the brain and bladder interact to give you more bladder control.
A detailed explanation of how you can train your bladder can be found here. Keep practicing and I'm sure you'll experience the difference for yourself!
Do your Kegels! Kegel exercises are widely used by women to control urinary incontinence. It is especially useful for pregnant women to learn about their pelvic floor muscles, which will be beneficial during childbirth. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can improve the function of the urethra and rectal sphincter.
Some tips you'll need to perform Kegel exercises:
- Keep your abdominal, thigh, and buttocks muscles relaxed.
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles.
- Hold the muscles until you count to 3.
- Relax the pelvic floor muscles until you count to 3.
Do 10 sets of Kegel exercises day and night. It will be good if you can do these exercises in the comfort of your bedroom. Most women tend to see results in 4-6 weeks.
Tip: Be patient and don't give up! It takes time to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and I guarantee you, your efforts won't be wasted!
Accompanying your Kegel exercises with some workouts will be extremely helpful in improving incontinence. You'll be able to find lots of exercise videos on YouTube and Instagram that you can follow. An example will be Michelle Kenway. She uploads videos on her channel weekly and you can watch and follow her exercises.
Many pregnant women are loving Kegel Queen from ComfyGears. Kegel Queen is ergonomically designed to match your pelvic so that you can do your Kegels easily. It has assisted many women to combine their Kegel workouts with Yoga. The results achieved by Kegel Queen is astounding. More than 86% of women saw an improvement in their urinary incontinence.
Others benefited from improved blood circulation in their lower bodies, better control in bed and stronger orgasms. Jean Anderson has also shared her story of how she revitalized her sex life with Kegel Queen.
Will Things Get Better?
Many women worldwide have recovered from pregnancy urinary incontinence. And you can be like them too! Regular pelvic training through Kegels and monitoring your diet is the key to overcoming unwanted leakages.
Don't lose hope. Ensuring that your needs are met, goes a long way in protecting you and your baby! 👼🏽