Original post written for LiveConfidently.com
Light bladder leakage is common during and just after pregnancy, but can easily be controlled with the right products and lifestyle choices. This happens for many reasons, including heredity, hormonal changes, or weight gain, which are all causes of stress incontinence. During pregnancy, stress incontinence occurs when your uterus grows larger and adds weight to your bladder, giving you less space to store urine. If the women in your family experienced light bladder leakage during or after their pregnancies, there’s a greater chance that you will also experience some form of stress incontinence during or after pregnancy. Read on for five helpful tips on controlling bladder leakage and urinary incontinence during pregnancy.
Note: Before reading our tips, it’s important to make sure that you’re actually leaking urine and not amniotic fluid, which is clear and does not have a smell. If you think it could be amniotic fluid, call your doctor as soon as possible.
1. Select the right products.
Thinking that bladder leakage is solely linked to old age, many pregnant women use feminine pads for protection instead of incontinence-specific products. Feminine products are not made to soak up that much liquid and can also increase the chances of urine odors after some leakage. It’s best to find a pad or brief that is specifically designed for light bladder leakage. Not only will you feel much more comfortable, but you also won’t have to worry about any unwanted smells. You may want to read our blog post on incontinence products versus feminine products for more information.
2. Do your Kegel exercises!
When done in repetition over time, Kegel exercises can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and greatly improve your bladder control. To begin, lie on the floor and squeeze or pull in the pelvic floor muscles. Keep them tight for several seconds, release, and repeat. It’s a simple exercise that doesn’t take much time, and could make all the difference in controlling your bladder. You may want to read our blog post on pelvic floor muscle exercises for more information.
3. Try to keep the weight gain to a minimum.
Added weight only means added pressure on your bladder. It’s impossible to avoid gaining some weight during pregnancy, but with the right diet and low-impact exercises you can greatly decrease your risk for light bladder leakage. Talk to your doctor to design a meal plan that will give you and your baby the proper nutrition without weighing down your stomach with empty calories.
4. Drink eight glasses of water a day.
Many people who suffer from stress incontinence don’t drink enough water, thinking this will make their situation better. Unfortunately, this can make your bladder leakage much worse. Not only will this leave you more susceptible to dehydration and urinary tract infections, but it can also make your urine more concentrated and cause unwanted odors.
5. Cross those legs.
As a last line of defense, it can help to cross your legs when you’re about to sneeze, cough, or laugh. Of course it’s impossible to predict these things, so it’s always best to make sure you’re wearing the right product for your level of bladder leakage.
Have some tips to add? Head over to our incontinence during pregnancy forum to discuss this topic with people just like you!