Urinary incontinence is common during and after pregnancy. During pregnancy a combination of pregnancy hormones and the increasing size of your baby and the weight of the expanding uterus all put pressure on your bladder. It is usual that when you cough, sneeze, stand suddenly or perform any strenuous exercise you may leak a small amount of urine.
After you have given birth you may either begin, or continue, to experience urinary incontinence. Delivery of your baby puts pressure on your bladder and in the weeks after the birth as your uterus returns to its pre-pregnancy size it sits just above the bladder and will take time to settle down. Hormonal changes also play their part.
Whilst this is an annoying inconvenience it is easily managed by wearing a small pad and making sure you urinate as soon as you need to also helps. Ways to help speed the return to normal bladder control include:
Keegal exercises: (insert link) Pelvic floor exercises are easy to perform and can be done anywhere. You will have been advised to exercise these during pregnancy and it is important to continue afterwards to strengthen the pelvic floor. The better these muscles are the quicker you will recover bladder control.
Control your weight:If you have gained weight during your pregnancy a sensible and slow weight loss will help to regain bladder control.
Bladder training:Taking time to urinate before you feel a sense of urgency is beneficial to bladder health as a build up of urine in the bladder can lead to bladder infections. Urinating every 30 minutes or so will help to train your bladder and you will be able to extend that time gradually.
Avoid constipation for good bladder control: Constipation puts additional pressure on the bladder. Good diet will help. (insert link)
Drink plenty of water: It may be tempting to avoid keeping your fluid intake up to avoid urinary incontinence however drinking adequate water is essential for the health of your bladder. Dehydrated bladders are more prone to urinary tract infections (insert link) and an infected bladder can cause more urinary incontinence.
As will many of the discomforts and inconveniences of your pregnancy and post pregnant body urinary incontinence should improve and pass within a matter of months. If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse or there is any discomfort consult your healthcare professional to ensure there is no infection or other complication.