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Pregnancy Incontinence

Pregnancy Incontinence

Continence is the ability to keep urine in the bladder and then empty it when necessary. To be continent, the bladder must contract and expel urine only when necessary.

The urethra must be able to keep the urine in the bladder even when there’s increased pressure in the abdomen (such as coughing). These tissues and organs, including the bladder, vagina and uterus, are supported by a pudding basin of muscles called the pelvic floor muscles. Weakening of these muscles or tissues can lead to the involuntary loss of urine called incontinence.

Pregnancy and vaginal delivery can put pressure on the muscles of the pelvic floor and this can stretch and weaken them so they sag. It can happen in women who haven’t delivered vaginally, too. The two main types of incontinence are stress and urge.

If you’re experiencing problems with stress or urge incontinence after the birth of your baby, go back to those useful pregnancy pelvic floor exercises you did throughout your pregnancy. Clench all the muscles from your back passage to your urethra and vagina (as the midwives say, as if you were stopping a bowel movement and the flow of urine and gripping a tampon, all at the same time); hold tightly for a count of six, then relax. Repeat five or six times every hour.

If the incontinence does not improve, mention it at your postnatal check-up or discuss it with your healthcare professional.


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