Pregnancy is a special and cherished time for many women. The changes a woman’s body experiences during the 40 weeks of pregnancy are dramatic and beautiful. What often comes as a surprise, however, is that after pregnancy, some issues tend to remain — like urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence, or loss of bladder control, can range in severity from mild to severe. There are also several different types of incontinence, and different causes of each. Some women experience only an occasional minor leak, while others find that it interferes with their daily life. The most common type of incontinence that occurs after pregnancy and/or childbirth is stress incontinence. This type of incontinence means you experience leakage from strain on the abdomen, such as from coughing, sneezing, laughing, or even getting up from a chair. Stress incontinence is a result of weakened pelvic floor muscles.
Pregnancy and incontinence
Some women think that having a Cesarean section will help them avoid incontinence – but in fact, just pregnancy alone puts pressure on your pelvic floor muscles, causing incontinence for many women. The weight of your baby presses on your pelvic floor, especially in the third trimester as the baby gets much larger. In addition, vaginal childbirth can put extra strain on the pelvic floor, causing further bladder control problems. Incontinence is often discussed at your postpartum visits, and your physician may check your pelvic floor muscles to see how they are healing.
Overcome incontinence with exercises
Kegel exercises are typically recommended as a first line of defense against post-pregnancy incontinence. These exercises must be done correctly and regularly in order to be effective. The good news is, you can do them almost anywhere and make them part of your daily routine; for example, do them in your car while on your way to work or when running errands. Other exercises, known as bladder retraining, can also be done. These exercises train your bladder to hold the urine, longer. Your physician can talk with you about how to do this.
Other treatments for incontinence
If exercises don’t improve your pelvic floor function and incontinence is still interfering with your daily life, talk with your physician. There are other treatments available to treat this condition in more severe cases. These may include physical therapy, medications, and surgery.
You should not feel you need to just live with urinary incontinence, or that it’s “normal.” With the help of a urogynecologist, you can work together on a treatment plan to get you back to your daily activities without worrying about bladder control.
Carepoint Health Urogynecology
At CarePoint Health, our Urogynecology Department offers you exceptional care from medical experts who specialize in female urinary problems. For more information about the wide range of women’s services we provide, please contact us.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.