Managing Urinary Incontinence Before and After Pregnancy
Pregnancy is indeed a bitter-sweet period. For as you look forward to delivering a bundle of joy to the world, you meanwhile have to contend with disruptions that come with it. Needless to say, some of these disruptions extend to the postpartum period. Some of these disruptions include hormonal changes that can alter your mood or emotions during and soon after the pregnancy.
There is also low libido after delivery. Then there is urinary incontinence which, according to the International Continence Society, is that involuntary leakage of urine that you experience but are ashamed to discuss with anyone.
Urinary Incontinence associated with pregnancy affects different women differently. To some, it is only mild. In that case, you do not leak frequently but just have to rush to the loo as fast as possible if the urge comes. You get this sensation that if you do not make it to the bathroom in time, something must give way.
You can control the leakage by quick action. But to other women, Urinary Incontinence is the exact opposite of mild — by the time you rush to shut the stable door, the horse has bolted out. In worse situations, urinary incontinence is accompanied by fecal incontinence! This may happen if you suffered a severe tear during delivery.
Causes of Urinary Incontinence
About two-thirds of women suffer from Urinary Incontinence during and after pregnancy. It is called stress incontinence. So, what causes it? Physical pressure on the bladder is the primary cause of Urinary Incontinence for pregnant women. Your bladder is located on top of your pelvic bones and is anchored by your pelvic floor.
The bladder relaxes or fills up with urine now and then. Usually, the opening or closing of the bladder is controlled by the sphincter. However, during pregnancy, the normal operations are disrupted as the growing baby takes up space and the pressure strains the pelvic muscles.
The sphincter is thus rendered loose, and so activities like coughing, laughing, sneezing or yawning can lead to urinary incontinence. The conditions can continue after birth before the muscles resume their pre-natal shape.
Medication or urinary tract infection can also lead to this disorder. This kind is called transient incontinence. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also affect the lining of the urethra and the bladder, causing you to experience urinary incontinence.
Managing the Disorder
But you do not have to accept this as part of your life during and after pregnancy. You can successfully manage urinary incontinence and bypass the discomfort or indignity that comes with it. Do not prioritize the well-being of the baby and forget that of your own.
Medication and surgery can alleviate this disorder, but they can come with their own complications. As just explained above, urinary incontinence is in some instances caused by the medication itself.
Physiotherapy treatment has developed one of the best procedures for dealing with this condition. The following physiotherapy interventions can stop you from leaking like a sieve:
These are exercises designed to strengthen your pelvic floor. Kegels are highly recommended during pregnancy and in the first two months after delivery. So as soon as you get pregnant, book an appointment at the physiotherapy clinic and be advised on the best approach for your Kegels, depending on your body weight or health condition.
Such a preemptive step can help you avoid urinary incontinence, meaning you will not be treating it. Kegels are not only safe for you but also effective. You will have to focus on the urine-holding muscles. It is recommended you squeeze the muscles for at least ten seconds before relaxing them. For better results, take five sets of Kegels each day.
This is a physical fitness system that can also help align your pelvic floor muscles. You need to work hand in hand with a qualified physiotherapist for better results. He will instruct on how to focus the fitness to your pelvic floor where there is pressure.
Yoga lessons at a physiotherapy clinic can also help you learn the skills of letting go of the pelvic floor instead of always contracting the muscles. Pelvic floor tilt exercises for instance, will help strengthen the abdominal muscles and stretching the back muscles. Through this, the pelvic muscles are pulled in and released which makes its essential for the relaxation and contraction of the of the pelvic muscles and the abdominal muscles.
Taking a deep breath into the belly and then relaxing the pelvic floor also helps to release the tension in the abdomen. The procedure is called ‘flop and drop.’ If repeated daily, the muscles will develop an essential full range contraction.
Physiotherapy exercises will also help check your weight; extra weight can add unnecessary pressure on your bladder, and that’s the last thing you need during pregnancy. The exercises will also help you lose weight after delivery, thus lowering the risk of urinary incontinence. Along with the physiotherapy exercises, you should avoid caffeinated drinks for they tend to fill the bladder faster.
Drinking more water is a better alternative. You should also reduce taking sips at night to prevent leaking at night. Constipation also worsens urinary incontinence by adding pressure on the pelvic floor, so eat lots of high-fiber foods to avoid constipation.
You should also note that urinary incontinence is a condition, which, if not handled in time, can only deteriorate and evolve into a bigger complication in your menopause years when the muscles have become more relaxed or weak. It can take full control of your life.
Get in touch with Prime Physiotherapy Services and start your wellness program. Working with them will help you get rid of your worries and restore your dignity and self-esteem.