Pregnancy & Incontinence Issues

pregnant woman at doctor office shutterstock_249370948Congratulations on your forthcoming child! Motherhood is one of the most joyous milestones any woman can experience but are you ready for the short but long journey of pregnancy? You probably already know that a pregnancy can be a time filled with a wide range of emotions, cravings for specific foods and of course, the most obvious of things – bodily changes. But of all those changes, you might not expect to experience periods of urinary incontinence.

In fact, over 25 million Americans experience urinary incontinence where 80% of those who do, are women. Additionally, 63% of women say their symptoms happened during and/or after pregnancy according to the National Association of Continence.

But what exactly is urinary incontinence and why does it happen? Urinary incontinence occurs when your muscles around your urethra fail to fully contract which leads to some leakage from the bladder. Normally, when you use the restroom, your muscles will relax to let the bladder empty and then contract again until you are ready to empty your bladder. However, when you are pregnant, the process can interfere with the normal way your muscles contract and relax plus the added pressure on your bladder can make the result in more frequent trips to the restroom.

Typically, women who experience urinary incontinence symptoms while pregnant will fall under the stress incontinence spectrum of the issue. This is where physical activity – sitting down, standing up, walking, etc. – can make the uterus put more pressure on the bladder and result in urinary leakage. However, women who are pregnant can prevent incontinence issues by a few simple steps. First, schedule regular bathroom breaks to help avoid leakage – try at least every two hours. It might seem bothersome at first, but it can prevent a situation where you have a full bladder and no control.

Second, be mindful of how much weight you gain during the pregnancy. Just in general, extra weight can put more pressure on your bladder which will make the incontinence symptoms more frequent. Additionally, incontinence supplies for women can help manage the symptoms when a bathroom is out of reach.

While you progress throughout the pregnancy, it may become more difficult to prevent the occasional mishap because the bladder will be subjected to more pressure as time goes one. Once you do give birth, there could be a chance of persisting symptoms but with guided direction from your doctor, you can manage them with certain exercises, medication and supplies.

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