Managing Urinary Incontinence During Pregnancy
Urinary incontinence during pregnancy is quite common.
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary passage of urine, occurring during pregnancy due to pressure on the bladder from the growing belly. Almost all women experience some sort of incontinence during pregnancy. The treatment is easy and often requires bladder training or life style changes.
Why is urinary incontinence so common during pregnancy?
Before we talk about incontinence, let’s first know about how urination takes place. The moment you get an urge to pass urine, the muscles relax around your urethra , the tube that expels urine from your urinary bladder outside, and urine flows from the bladder to the urethra to be thrown out of the body. Once urination is over, the muscles around the urethra contract and this results in holding off any urine till next sensation to pass urine occurs.
During pregnancy, the growing uterus exerts physical pressure on the urinary bladder. The hormonal changes occurring in this phase also interfere with the urethral muscles, resulting in either involuntary passage or leakage of urine while exerting even a little pressure when coughing or sneezing.
How severe can urinary incontinence get?
The type of incontinence commonly experienced during pregnancy is called as stress urinary incontinence (SUI), which means leakage of urine that occurs during exercise or coughing, laughing. The next form is little more severe, occurs due to an over active bladder i.e. urgency incontinence. This results in an increased frequency of urination along with SUI. The last and the most severe form is the inability to hold the urine. In this, urine is involuntarily passed even before one can make it to the toilet and you have no control over it.
How can one avoid pregnancy incontinence?
As most females experience pregnancy incontinence, it is important to know how to prevent it. This can be done with certain lifestyle changes. Urinary incontinence lifestyle changes include the following:
- Kegels exercises: Practicing urinary incontinence exercises like Kegels exercises regularly helps in improving the tone of your pelvic muscles. This improved tone of pelvic muscles can help in improving the tone of urethral muscles, thus reducing the chances of leakage.
- Schedule your washroom visits: During pregnancy, the frequency of urination increases and the best way to avoid incontinence is to visit the washroom frequently. Visiting the toilet every 2 hours reduces the chances of incontinence and bladder irritation.
- Water intake: Drinking lots of water in just one go increases the load on the kidneys and bladder, thus drinking a glass or less every 1-2 hours is more helpful and reduces bladder irritability and incontinence.
- Keeping weight gain under check: Women who are obese are more likely to gain even more weight during pregnancy, which worsens the symptoms of incontinence. Thus, controlling weight gain during pregnancy is key to controlling the symptoms of incontinence.
Can incontinence continue even after pregnancy?
If you have suffered from incontinence during pregnancy, it makes you more prone to have incontinence even after delivery for the first 4-6 weeks. This is because during delivery pelvic floor muscles are stretched which makes them weak and increases your tendency to have incontinence.
So make the small changes suggested above to deal with urinary incontinence during pregnancy easily and have complete control over it.
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Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.
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