Many moms-to-be find it difficult to have a control over their bladder and may end up leaking urine every time they cough, laugh or sneeze.
Urinary incontinence is a medical condition of the disrupted process of storing and passing urine. The involuntary leakage of urine is mild for most of the expecting mothers, although, it can be severe. Women may continue to have the problem after pregnancy.
The kind of urinary incontinence experienced during pregnancy is usually stress incontinence, which occurs because of the increased pressure on the bladder. In stress incontinence, the bladder sphincter doesn’t function to hold in urine.
[Read: Treatments for Urinary Incontinence]
What Causes Incontinence during and after Pregnancy?
Urinary incontinence during pregnancy can occur for a number of reasons and certain factors may also increase the chances of developing the condition.
Poor bladder control is a result of mounting pressure on bladder during pregnancy, which give women less room to store urine and it becomes increasingly difficult to stop the flow. An overactive bladder is one of the main reasons behind urinary incontinence during pregnancy. Thus, women need to urinate more than usual as their bladders have uncontrollable spasms.
Childbirth weakens the pelvic floor muscles, which in turn make the bladder more active. Childbirth may contribute to bladder problems,
- if there is any sort of damage to the nerves that control the bladder,
- if the urethra and bladder have moved during pregnancy and
- due to episiotomy (a surgical procedure that allows the foetus to come out more easily).
[Read: Kegel Exercises for Bladder Problems]
How to deal with urinary incontinence and other bladder problems during pregnancy
- A pregnant woman or those suffering from the condition must practice kegel exercises every day. Health experts recommend working up to three sets of 15 kegel exercises a day.
- Physical activity is a must. Ask your health care provider about how to work out during pregnancy. Weight management can take pressure off your bladder during pregnancy.
- You can cross your legs when you feel the need to cough or sneeze to prevent involuntary urine leakage. The same should be done when you're about to lift something heavy.
- Behavioural methods such as timed voiding and bladder training help treating urinary incontinence during and after pregnancy. Train your bladder; set time to urinate and do so before you have the urge.
- Try to keep constipation in check during pregnancy. It will make sure that your full bowel doesn't put added pressure on the bladder.
- Make a habit to drink at least eight glasses of fluids every day. If you cut back on water to control the peeing, it only makes you vulnerable to dehydration and urinary tract infections.
- Avoid the foods and beverages that may irritate your bladder and make it difficult to control urinary leaks. These include coffee, citrus fruits, tomatoes, soft drinks and alcohol.
- You can use the pads that absorb leaking urine. Make sure you only use pads that don't block the flow of urine.
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