My midwife told me, while I was in labor, that labor and birth are the perfect preparation for motherhood. I’d go one step further than her and say that this preparation starts during pregnancy. Specifically, being pregnant prepares women for all the bodily fluids they’ll be dealing with once they have a little one – pregnancy starts with vomit, after which all the other imaginable fluids turn up at one point or another… no kidding! Female incontinence during pregnancy is not unusual, but still hard to deal with.
Have you noticed how you leak a little when you laugh, run, or hold your pee for a little too long? Minor leakages, especially common in the third trimester of pregnancy, are a caused by a kind of stress incontinence. No, that doesn’t mean you’re stressed (though incontinence can certainly cause stress!) – it means your huge uterus and your baby are now pressing onto your bladder. In other words, your bladder is under stress. This causes small amounts of urine to escape.
In addition, again because of your growing baby, your bladder now has less space and you’ll need to urinate more frequently. This, too, contributes to worsening the problem of female incontinence during pregnancy. If you have any symptoms of a urinary tract infection like burning sensations while peeing, see a doctor. Otherwise, leakage is a normal part of pregnancy that you can make less embarrassing by:
- Staying well hydrated, believe it or not!
- Using pads to prevent leaking onto clothes.
- Going to the bathroom more often.
- Making sure you don’t laugh. No, just kidding. That would make life very unpleasant.
Pregnancy incontinence, or weak bladder control, should go away after you give birth. It is a good idea to do Kegel exercises to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. This will benefit your bladder as well.
Are you experiencing bladder control problems after pregnancy? In that case, read about female incontinence after having a baby.