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How to Manage Incontinence During Pregnancy & After Childbirth

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Despite the physical changes that occur to one’s body during pregnancy, most women are able to go about their daily activities without worry. However, as the baby develops, there is a heightened risk of urinary incontinence (UI). 

Bladder Leaks & Urinary Incontinence While Pregnant

Managing incontinence during pregnancy can be frustrating. Expecting mothers already face other hormonal and bodily changes as the fetus develops. But don’t worry! You are not alone.

Experiencing incontinence bladder leaks pregnancy is surprisingly common. Many new mothers live with incontinence during or after pregnancy. 

What is incontinence? 

Urinary incontinence happens when an individual loses bladder control and accidentally leaks out urine. Leaks can occur anytime during pregnancy but are more common during the early stages and right before labor.  

How common is incontinence during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, women will experience drastic body changes. This may include increased trips to the bathroom and accidental urinary leaks. Pregnant women leaking urine at night or anytime during the day is a common problem during pregnancy. Statistics show approximately 50-60% of women experience some degree of incontinence while pregnant. 

How does pregnancy and childbirth affect bladder control?

During pregnancy, the mother will gain weight along with the growing baby which causes her pelvic ligaments to loosen. This increases a mother’s need of having to wear pads or use diapers to manage urinary incontinence while pregnant.

Does incontinence happen after childbirth?

Yes, mothers may experience urinary incontinence after childbirth. Incontinence can also develop in women after having C-section. 1 in 3 women experience urinary leakage after having a baby. Exercise and some diet changes can help manage incontinence. For more information, read our blog on How to Manage Urinary Incontinence After Childbirth.

Dealing with Urinary Incontinence During Pregnancy 

Dealing with urinary incontinence during pregnancy is challenging. Mothers are already undergoing many body and hormonal changes. Incontinence adds another issue they have to deal with. 

Why do pregnant women experience incontinence?

Pregnant women experience incontinence due to a variety of factors. Some of the most common reasons include changes in bladder volume, muscle strength, and hormonal fluctuations. The growing uterus puts pressure on the mother’s bladder causing leakage. Women may also experience fecal incontinence during childbirth. 

Tips for Pregnant Women Leaking Urine at Night

If you're pregnant and experiencing urine leaks at night, the following lifestyle changes can help. 

  • Drink lots of fluids during the day. 
  • Avoid fluids containing sugar, alcohol, and caffeine before bedtime.  
  • Try not to stress about incontinence while pregnant. 
  • Make sure you have padding on your bedside mattress to prevent painful pressure on your hips and lower abdomen. Use a disposable bed pad to protect your mattress.

What are the best products for pregnancy incontinence? 

You laugh or sneeze and accidentally leak urine. It's common but a frustrating occurrence during pregnancy. Luckily, there are a variety of products for managing pregnancy incontinence:

Postpartum Incontinence Treatment After Childbirth 

It is important to discuss any concerns or questions related to incontinence with your healthcare provider. Your doctor can provide you with more information and/or various treatments available according to your health and medical history. 

How long does incontinence last after childbirth?

After childbirth, many women will experience incontinence. It can vary from mild to severe and can last for a few days or up to several weeks. How long incontinence lasts after childbirth largely depends on the individual's genetics and health history. 

Some women experience short-term incontinence lasting only a few days after childbirth, while others may experience long-term problems that last for weeks and months. 

How to do Kegel exercises?

Kegel exercises can help control or prevent urinary incontinence, especially during pregnancy. Doing kegel exercises daily helps strengthen the pelvic floors, which directly support the bladder, uterus, rectum, and small intestine. Follow these steps to do kegel exercises: 

  1. Ensure your bladder is empty, and then sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
  2. Try to tighten your pelvic floor muscles. 
  3. Hold it tight for at least three seconds and then relax your muscles. 
  4. Breathe freely during the exercise. 
  5. Repeat the exercise ten times. 

For effective results, practice kegel exercises at least 3 times a day.

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