A common problem during pregnancy that can and should be solved.
One of the many problems a woman may face during her pregnancy is urinary incontinence. This means that the pregnant woman’s pelvic muscles are not able to hold strongly enough the urine, leading to a leak of urine, which may go from a few drops to a larger amount of urine.
Why does it happen?
Although in other stages in the life of a woman a regular loss of urine may be a symptom of a urine tract problem such as an infection, it often occurs during pregnancy. This is because the muscle involved in holding the urine in the bladder are those in the pelvic floor, and are the same muscles involved in birth. At the first weeks of pregnancy, the bladder is pressured by the growing uterus, and at the same time, hormones needed for correct development of the placenta and of the baby, make most neighboring internal organs more flexible.
The most common situation is to leak urine when coughing, laughing, sneezing or making an effort (which by the way is a no-no during pregnancy!), and although it is temporary (the muscles start gaining their previous tone once the bay is born) it is quite a sensitive issue to talk about, and most pregnant women will keep this problem to themselves.
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How can I prevent it?
The first thing to do to counteract is to urinate frequently, every 30-45 minutes, even if you don’t feel the need to. Do not wait until the last moment, because holding back will make the problem worse.
Drink plenty of water, at least those famous eight glasses and two more. This way, you will be keeping your urinary tract clean and in good shape, your bodily fluids will be at the correct level and of course, you and your baby will stay properly hydrated. To avoid having to wake up to go to the bathroom too much during the night you can cut down on the amount of water drank in the few hours before going to bed. Do not cut down on drinking liquids, since you may end up dehydrated.
Wear protective pads. To avoid smells and wetness, wear a panty liner and change it frequently during the day. If you work, you should also have a pair or two of spare panties in case of an accident.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol and soft drinks since they overexcite the urinary system. Anyway, those were already banned due to your pregnancy. You should stick to good old plain water, fruit juices and milk.
Practice Kegel exercises. If you don’t or aren’t sure what Kegels it’s a simple exercise where the muscles involved in holding the urine are pulled back. Those muscles in the rectal tract and the pelvic floor are also important when the baby is due. If you want to try it out, just hold the muscles as if you were trying to hold your urine back. However, do not try it when you actually feel the urge to go, since it will not help in making the muscles stronger. To see significant improvement you should try this exercise at least 30 to 50 times throughout the day for at least three to five weeks, but if combined with scheduled urination and good hydration you will notice an improvement sooner.
Remember to talk to your doctor about your incontinence, and about any other issue you may experience during your pregnancy.
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