Incontinence in pregnancy

Incontinence in pregnancy

It can be a little surprising, but it’s not at all unusual, to find that you have urine incontinence during pregnancy. We have good news for you: you don’t have to worry about it and you can do something about it.


IS IT NORMAL?
A little leaking is very common during pregnancy: it happens to most expectant mums. Called 'stress incontinence', it is due to the increased pressure of the growing uterus on the bladder. Laughter, coughing, sneezing or any other situation where your bladder comes under a slight strain often triggers it. One of the keys to minimizing stress incontinence is to practice pelvic floor exercises.

WHAT CAUSES THE LEAKING?
The pelvic floor is one of the muscle groups in the body, providing support for your bladder, intestines and uterus. Located between your legs, the pelvic floor muscles run in a sling shape from your pubic bone at the front to the base of your spine at the back.
Because it can stretch in response to weight, the pelvic floor is sometimes compared to a trampoline. But because of the increasing amount of weight bearing down on your pelvic floor over nine months of pregnancy, it may not bounce back like a trampoline – instead, your pelvic muscles or tissues can become over-stretched and weak.

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WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT INCONTINENCE DURING PREGNANCY?
There are some simple things you can do to considerably reduce the symptoms of urine incontinence during pregnancy. Here are our top tips:

  • Drink 6 to 8 cups of water
  • Switch to decaffeinated coffee or tea
  • Opt for non-alcoholic or low-alcohol drinks – for example, a wine spritzer is better than a glass of wine
  • Watch out for diuretic fruits and vegetables like strawberries, tomatoes and blackcurrants
  • A high-fibre diet will support healthy digestion
  • Watch your weight – excess weight increases the pressure on your bladder
  • To minimise urine incontinence during pregnancy, strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with specific exercises and learn to contract these muscles when you need them the most, such as when coughing and laughing. Learn how to build up your pelvic muscles (article 12) here.
  • Try relaxation technique
  • To make sure you feel fresh and clean all day, you can also use pantyliners specifically designed for sensitive bladders, such as Always ProFresh pantyliners with NeutraPearlsTM to capture and neutralise odours for hours.
  • Also read Help, baby’s born but my body keeps changing!

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