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As you progress with your pregnancy, your bathroom visits may increase! This is due to the increased pressure building up on your bladder. But if there is an accidental urine leakage, you may find it little embarrassing. Wondering why urine leakage happens in pregnancy? Here’s everything you need to know about urine leakage in pregnancy.
Is Urine Leakage Common During Pregnancy?
Yes, urine leakage or stress incontinence is one of the most common pregnancy problems. One in every three woman experiences this problem during pregnancy. In some women, the leakage is very little or minimal but for other women, it may be a cause of concern.
Why Does It Happen?
This common side effect of pregnancy happens due to the increased pressure on the bladder. In pregnancy, your growing belly and various hormonal changes make your pelvic floor tissues and muscles to expand. These expanding tissues and muscles weaken the sphincter muscles, which are responsible for controlling the release of urine from the bladder. This may cause urine leakage when you cough, sneeze or laugh.
Thus, your increasing pregnancy weight, hormonal changes and constipation in pregnancy are some of the causes related to urine leakage, as these all put pressure on your pelvic floor muscles.
How Long Does Urinary Incontinence Last?
Urinary incontinence or urine leakage may get worse in the third trimester because of the increased pressure on the pelvic area. Some women may experience urinary incontinence even after birth. In most cases, this problem gets better within three to six months after your baby is born.
The first line treatment for bladder leakage during pregnancy may include the following:
- Keeping up a bladder diary: Maintaining a bladder diary will help you establish the frequency of leakages, which will help you in planning your bathroom visits.
- Practising pelvic exercises: Pelvic exercises will strengthen your pelvic muscles, thus helping you to have better control over your urinary bladder.
- Include more fibre in your diet: High fibre diet helps in constipation, which means lesser pressure on your pelvic muscles in pregnancy.
- Refrain from having caffeinated and carbonated beverages: These drinks will make you pee more, thus more chances of urine leakages.
How to Manage Urine Leaking?
Here’s how you may effectively manage your urine leakage in pregnancy:
1. Scheduled Bathroom Visits
If you are facing urine leakage in pregnancy, it will be extremely helpful if you make a schedule for your bathroom visits. You may plan an hourly or two hourly visits to the bathroom. The aim is to not let your bladder feel too full, to avoid any leakage. Keeping track of your loo visits is an effective way of managing urine leakage in pregnancy.
2. Absorbent Pads
Another good option to manage your urine leakage is by wearing an absorbent pad or panty liners. These are very effective in saving you from any embarrassing urine leakages. If you are working or going out of the house for a longer duration, it will be a good idea to carry an extra pad for changing.
You can prevent urine leakage in pregnancy by adopting some of the following measures:
1. Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises are a very effective way of preventing urine leakage in pregnancy. Urine leakage happens because of weakened pelvic tissues and muscles. Doing three sets of ten repetitions a day of Kegel exercises is a good way of strengthening the pelvic muscles. The strong pelvic muscles will hold urine and avoid any urine incontinence. Kegel exercises are absolutely safe and can be done in pregnancy. However, it is suggested that you consult your doctor to know which Kegel exercises you may do in pregnancy.
2. Stay Hydrated
It is very important to stay hydrated in pregnancy as dehydration in pregnancy may lead to complications such as pregnancy-related headaches, preterm labour and other such complications. It is recommended to consume at least six to eight glasses of water in a day to avoid dehydration. Many women may cut off water and other fluids thinking it will avoid the problem of urine leakage. But cutting down water and other fluids is not an effective solution to battle with urine leakage; rather it may cause bladder irritation and other serious medical issues.
3. Pelvic Floor Exercise
Many researchers feel that if a pregnant woman begins with pelvic floor exercises early in pregnancy, it may be helpful in keeping the problem of urine leakage at bay. These exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and thus help you control the flow of urine. Regular practising of pelvic floor exercise refrains the muscles from becoming flaccid.
How Can Accidents be Avoided?
Here’s how you may avoid urine leakage accidents from happening:
- Keep tabs on your diet: Do not eat spicy foods which may irritate your bladder. Refrain from aerated drinks, tea and coffee. Eat food items which don’t irritate your bladder.
- Keep constipation under control: Drink plenty of water to ward off constipation. The problem of constipation puts pressure on your pelvic region, thus making you more susceptible to have weaker pelvic floor muscles.
- Drink adequate water: Make sure you drink plenty of water as inadequate amounts of water in pregnancy may lead to concentrated urine, which may irritate the bladder.
- You may also try sitting in a cross-legged position if you feel the urge to sneeze or cough. Sitting in this position helps in controlling the urine to an extent.
You may even opt for bladder training to manage the urine leakage in pregnancy. Bladder training helps you to manage the gap between two bathroom visits. It effectively teaches you how to hold the urine in the bladder until your next bathroom visit. You may get in touch with your doctor to know more about the bladder training program and your doctor may advise a program that is best suited for your condition.
Urine leakage is a very common pregnancy problem and can be effectively managed with the above-mentioned tips. However, if you feel that you are not able to manage this problem on your own or you experience a tingling sensation, notice blood, unusual odour or any other symptom in your urine, consult your health care adviser at once.