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Incontinence and Pregnancy

Incontinence and Pregnancy

July 5, 2012

Incontinence occurs in one in four women over the age of 18. One of the most common causes of incontinence in women is pregnancy and childbirth. Incontinence can easily occur during pregnancy, as the fetus presses down on the bladder, urethra, and pelvic floor muscles. This extra pressure causes involuntary leakage. During childbirth, labor can weaken pelvic muscles or cause nerve damage that will affect the ability to control bladder. Often muscles regain strength in a maximum of six weeks, reversing the symptoms of incontinence. 


During pregnancy most women experience stress incontinence. Stress incontinence is leakage due to enhanced pressure on the bladder. However, there are a variety of ways to cope with incontinence during pregnancy. Simple behavioral changes such as voiding or scheduling techniques can be used to train your bladder to reduce leakage. With this sort of training, keep a chart of times that leakage occurs to identify certain patterns. It is then possible to train your bladder, by waiting a period of time before going to the bathroom. Next, gradually increase the amount of time you force the bladder to wait before going. Eventually this will train your bladder to resist leakage. Other simple measures, such as kegel exercises, work to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, preventing incontinence. For added protection, incontinence underwear provides absorbent technology and allows you to maintain an active, stress-free lifestyle. While incontinence panties and incontinence briefs come in a variety of styles, there are modern and stylish designs that can be used during pregnancy to guard against leaks.


It is also common to continue experiencing incontinence after childbirth. Many women find that when they sneeze, cough, laugh, or participate in physical activity that it is possible leak urine. This is common, and is a result of nerve damage or weakening of the pelvic muscles following childbirth. Often times prolonged pushing periods, or larger babies are more likely to cause incontinence to occur. However, the good news is that generally incontinence will go away shortly following childbirth. Women generally regain strength in the pelvic muscles and rebuild damaged nerves within six weeks. If incontinent symptoms persist for longer then six weeks, contact your health professional.


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