07 Apr Stress Incontinence Pregnancy
About 70% of pregnant women experience urine leakage called stress incontinence. A woman’s body goes through many changes during pregnancy. The relationship between the bladder and the womb before pregnancy is altered when the baby starts to grow. As the baby grows, the womb enlarges. It starts to push the bladder downward and stretches the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor provides a support base for the bladder and the womb and keeps them in place. It can only withstand a certain amount of force. When abdominal pressure exceeds the maximum support the pelvic floor muscles can provide, urine starts to leak. The severity of leak depends on the size of the baby, number of vaginal deliveries, as well as the condition of the pelvic floor muscles.
To reduce the leakage, you can
- Practice pelvic floor exercises several times a day to strengthen the pelvic muscles. These exercises involve pulling and squeezing the muscles one uses to stop passing urine. Squeeze hard and slowly release the muscles until you can count up to ten. Do this few times a day.
- Reduce high-impact activities, such as lifting heavy objects. Replace them with low-impact aerobics or swimming.
- Drink plenty of water. Decreasing water intake may cause urinary infection. This may further aggravate urine leakage by frequent and painful urination.
- Do not hold urine. Empty your bladder as soon as you feel the urge and empty it completely each time. A full bladder will cause urine leakage with slightest cough.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Keep the private parts dry and reasonably comfortable during the day.
Usually, most women will recover after delivery. If the symptom persists and becomes bothersome, there are surgical procedures to correct it.