So many new experiences and challenges come with a new baby! Here’s one that many moms face but few talk about: urinary incontinence. Find out why it happens and how you can manage it in healthy ways so your focus is exactly where it should be — on your new little one.
How pregnancy can cause incontinence
During your pregnancy, the weight of carrying your baby can weaken your pelvic floor muscles. Then, during labor, your birth canal stretches to let your newborn through. As it stretches, your pelvic floor muscles stretch out too. A weakened pelvic floor, affects your bladder control.
Here are some factors that may also add to your risk of developing urinary incontinence:
- Having your first baby
- Delivering a large baby
- Experiencing a long labor or a difficult vaginal delivery
Did you have a cesarean section? Because carrying your baby through your pregnancy can weaken your pelvic muscles and you may experience a sensitive bladder after a cesarean section as well.
Symptoms of post-pregnancy incontinence
If you have weak pelvic floor muscles, you may leak urine when you cough, sneeze, lift, laugh or do exercise. You may feel an urgent need to empty your bladder more frequently. Another symptom is waking up at night frequently to use the restroom or experiencing some leaks as you sleep.
What can I do about weak pelvic floor muscles?
Poor bladder control just after giving birth will often improve in the first six months as your body heals. Regular pelvic floor muscle training will help get the strength back and control.
Also, remember that any 'pushing down' action in the first weeks after labor may stress or further stretch your pelvic floor. Protect those muscles by following these tips:
- Squeeze, lift and hold your pelvic floor muscles before you sneeze, cough, blow your nose or lift an object
- Cross your legs and squeeze tightly together before coughing or sneezing
- Do not lift heavy loads
- Avoid exercises that make your pelvic area feel strained
If your bladder control doesn’t improve after six months, talk to your doctor. He or she can help try new ideas for treatment or explore other possible causes of the urinary incontinence you’re experiencing.
To take care of leaks as they happen, wear light protection that’s designed for urinary incontinence. New Always Discreet liners and pads are a perfect fit. Always Discreet liners have a thin and flexible design and feature exclusive technology that neutralizes urine odor. For more absorption, try Always Discreet pads, which are up to 40% thinner* yet absorb two times more than you may need.**
*than the Leading Brand
**based on average US consumer usage