Causes of Bladder Leakage in Pregnancy
The pressure on your bladder may send you in a hurry to the bathroom more often. Sometimes you may not make it in time and experience accidental leaks. Additionally, the changes in hormone levels during pregnancy can weaken to your pelvic floor muscles, increasing the urgency to get to the bathroom fast.
Early Pregnancy Urine Frequency
If you experience unexpected leaks while pregnant, it’s typically temporary so try not to worry. Your bladder should return to its pre-pregnancy condition not too long after giving birth. You can regain your pelvic floor, ligament, and tissue strength again.
Some women experience urinary incontinence post-pregnancy, but this typically resolves within six months to one year. Post pregnancy bladder leaks might stick around due to a weakened pelvic floor, but Iif theyit continues beyond six months to one year, please reach out to your healthcare provider for options in strengthening your pelvic floor and treating incontinence.
Types of Pregnancy Incontinence
Urge incontinence (also known as overactive bladder) results from tissue or nerve damage to the bladder that causes frequent, sudden, and intense urges to urinate. During your pregnancy, weight from your uterus can press on the nerves leading to the bladder, causing it to have spasms that send you to the bathroom in a hurry.
Prevention and Treatment for Incontinence During Pregnancy
Tools and Techniques
- Pelvic Floor Exercises
- Will help strengthen pelvic floor muscles to hold urine better and prevent bladder leakage during pregnancy.
- Develop a Schedule
- Createing a urine emptying schedule with set times you go to the bathroom to take some urgency out of your urination. You may consider going to the bathroom every 2 hours regardless of feeling the urge to urinate.; sSimply adjust your schedule as needed until you find a timeframe that works for you.
- Weight Management
- It's normal and healthy to gain weight during pregnancy. However, being mindful of not putting on too much weight can alleviate urinary incontinence symptoms.
- Wearing Protection
- Wearing a urinary incontinence liner or pad may protect your underwear and keep you feeling clean and comfortable. These pads are made to capture and hold liquids, which makes them different from the liners designed to collect blood products during your period or postpartum recovery.
Causes of Post-Pregnancy and Childbirth Incontinence
- Delivering a large baby
- Cesarean surgery
- Birthing your first baby
- Experiencing long labor
- Challenging vaginal birth
Signs of Stress and Urge Incontinence Post-Pregnancy
- More than 8 times per day
- Waking up two times or more to pee
- Sudden, intense and frequent urges to urinate
Treatment for Urinary Incontinence Post-Pregnancy
- Avoid exercises that strain your pelvic area.
- Avoid lifting heavy loads.
- When sneezing or coughing, cross your legs and squeeze tightly together.
- Lose some weight to decrease extra pressure on your bladder.
- Squeeze, lift and hold your pelvic floor muscles before you sneeze, laugh, cough, or lift an object.
If you’re struggling to get to the bathroom on time, you may be dealing with stress incontinence. Developing and adhering to a bathroom schedule can alleviate some of the urgency associated with having an overactive bladder. Also, some lifestyle changes can assist you with controlling your bladder after pregnancy, including the following:
- Having a bladder-friendly diet (e.g., pears, bananas, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, bread, green beans, squash, and eggs).
- Keeping hydrated with water.
- Double voiding by waiting 30 seconds after you urinate and void again to ensure your bladder is empty.
- Speaking to your healthcare provider about potential medications.
Shawana S. Moore, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC, is a Philadelphia-based, board-certified women’s health nurse practitioner and the director of the Women’s Health-Gender Related Nurse Practitioner Program at Thomas Jefferson University.
The information contained on this article should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your health care professional.