It’s not unusual for women to experience some level of incontinence during pregnancy. This is where urine leaks involuntarily and can range from the occasional spillage to regular, quite severe attacks.
Incontinence can carry on for a while after you’ve given birth and in some women can become a serious, long-term issue.
While there’s no cure for incontinence during pregnancy, there are several steps you can take to prevent attacks and reduce symptoms.
If you’re experiencing incontinence and want expert advice, speak to a doctor today. Our GPs can talk through your symptoms and provide tailored guidance on how to manage them during pregnancy.
Pregnancy incontinence usually takes place during the third trimester (27 weeks onwards) and is often caused by stress on the bladder. As your uterus grows to accommodate the developing baby, it puts pressure on the bladder and surrounding muscles. This can cause them to stretch, which can lead to weakness in the bladder.
The hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy can also make the issue worse – causing muscles in the pelvic area to relax and preventing them from properly supporting the bladder.
If you’re experiencing constipation, which is very typical during pregnancy, this can also add pressure to the pelvic area, increasing the likelihood of incontinence.
The condition may continue after you’ve given birth and the stretching that occurs during a vaginal delivery can sometimes make the incontinence worse.
While incontinence may last for a few months after childbirth – there are several ways you can prevent it from occurring.
Pelvic floor exercises are commonly recommended – particularly for first-time mothers. These help strengthen surrounding muscles and will help give you greater control over when you pass urine.
Similarly, some women find changes to their diet can help reduce incontinence. Some common things to cut out include spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol and acidic fruits.
It’s also important to drink plenty of water. This is generally a good idea, but will also dilute the concentration of the urine and stop it from irritating the bladder.
If you’re experiencing pregnancy incontinence and are looking for expert advice, don’t delay – speak to a doctor today.
Our GPs can talk through your symptoms and provide bespoke advice on the best way to manage your symptoms during pregnancy and beyond.