Incontinence during pregnancy and after pregnancy is common, affecting up to 7 out of 10 women. Incontinence is a fancy word for leaking urine. Why do women suffer from incontinence during and after pregnancy? What can be done about it?
The affects of pregnancy, weight gain and vaginal birth all lead to incontinence. Leaking a small amount of urine when you sneeze, cough, exercise or carry heavy items can occur because of the increasing pressure on the bladder from your growing uterus. After pregnancy, incontinence can be a result of vaginal delivery, an episiotomy, oversized baby and traumatic labor/delivery. During pregnancy, loss of urine can also be the result of a bladder infection. Pregnant women are more prone to urinary tract infections and bladder infections anyways, so it is best to ask your healthcare provider to rule out a possible infection. The affects of incontinence can occur at any point of a pregnancy, but most women are more prone to it during the last months of pregnancy.
What can you do about incontinence? The best treatment and preventative is to do pelvic floor exercises, or Kegel's. These simmple, but important, exercises help keep the muscles in the pelvic floor toned, decreasing the likelihood of incontinence. To minimize the chances of leaking urine, keep your bladder empty. When you feel the urge to urinate, do so. This will also decreased the risk of developing a urinary tract infection, which can be harmful to both mother and baby if not treated properly.
If, after a dedicated regimen of pelvic floor exercises, you are still leaking urine, a call to your heathcare provider would be recommended. They can further evaluate you to determine an appropratie plan of action to take. Incontinence does not have to affect you forever.
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