Urinary Incontinence and Pregnancy
Pregnancy can hamper a woman’s ability to control her bladder. The exertion required during birth and the mechanical pressure exerted on the bladder by the infant obviously has its effects on women. For this reason, trips to the restroom for the great majority of women, increases significantly. Another downside of pregnancy, as far as the bladder is concerned, is the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor muscles play a vital role for the urological system and when they are damaged, incontinence is even more likely. In the aftermath of giving birth (and before), the bladder is adversely affected due to:
- Modified positioning of the bladder
- Regular delivery of the baby through the vagina
- A surgical cut, performed during childbirth, at the opening of the vagina that assists in avoiding other tissues from tearing or damaging.
The good news regarding the musculature of the pelvic floor is that most of the times recovery is assured after some time has passed.
However, if after six weeks your bladder control has still not returned to normal, it is recommended to seek the assistance of a medical professional as there might be a potential long-term issue. Also, rest assured that pelvic muscles can be strengthened at any point in one’s life. Kegels exercises are extremely simple, can be performed anywhere and offer ultimate discretion since no equipment is necessary. This exercise consists of contracting the pelvic floor muscles (the same ones you use to stop urination mid-stream) for just a few minutes.
Keep in mind though, that to reap the benefits of Kegels exercises, sufficient time is required and patience should be observed. Isolation of the target muscle can also become a nuisance for some women who are only beginning to perform Kegels. In order to truly benefit from Kegels, both discipline and patience are required.
Another way to exercise the pelvic floor muscles is to use vaginal weights. This has the advantage of letting you observe your progress. Vaginal weights allow women to strengthen not only their pelvic floor muscles but also their vaginal walls.
Incontinence before and after pregnancy is quite normal unlike the appearance of incontinence due to some other underlying condition. Almost all women who suffer from pregnancy-induced incontinence need just some time to recoup their lost pelvic muscle strength.