Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it is also nine months of changes. As the baby grows, it will place pressure on all your organs including the bladder which can lead to accidental leaks of urine.
Pregnancy incontinence is common, with some women also finding control of their bladder difficult after the birth too. The good news is that with exercises and incontinence products such as those available from HARTMANN Direct, you can manage incontinence so that you can still enjoy life – and your pregnancy.
Why pregnancy incontinence happens
We urinate by relaxing the muscles around the urethra, allowing urine to flow from the bladder out of the body. When we are not urinating, these muscles are contracted, stopping the flow or urine as it collects in the bladder.
As well as a growing baby ‘sitting’ on your bladder, there are also hormonal changes in the body that affect how the urethra contracts and relaxes, adding extra pressure to what is known as stress incontinence. This means you accidentally leak urine when you cough, laugh, sneeze and so on.
Getting your body in shape – and keeping it in shape – is something we should all be doing but, when it comes to pregnancy, being fit, healthy and active can make pregnancy and birth easier. It also means that important muscles, such as the pelvic floor muscle group that supports the bladder, is able to do its job properly – and stop accidental leaks of urine.
Pregnancy incontinence does not have to make your life a misery!
Rather than ‘putting up with it’, you can manage pregnancy incontinence with these simple tips;
- Incontinence products
Sanitary wear is not the same as incontinence products. Unlike sanitary towels, an incontinence pad not only traps the urine, it also traps odour.
When the pad absorbs small droplets of urine, it locks it into an inner core of material, so that the top layer of the pad is not wet against the skin. If this happens, sensitive skin can become inflamed and sore, making every movement a little more uncomfortable than it needs to be.
This is why choosing the right incontinence pad with the right level of absorbency is key. You may find your needs change as your pregnancy progresses, so make sure you get the best product for you. And remember, this is not a long term issue – it can be resolved post-birth.
- Schedule toilet visits
There is no way around it – when you are pregnant, you will need to visit the bathroom more often. This is not a sign of weakness or not coping with pregnancy, but something that happens with hormone changes and a growing baby in your womb.
As well as using incontinence pads to manage accidental leaks, try visiting the bathroom every two hours, and certainly before you leave to go shopping or on the commute to work etc. By scheduling toilet visits, you will not be left with a full bladder, which can be difficult to cope with when you have a very urgent need to urinate.
- Practice pelvic floor exercises
The pelvic floor muscles are unlike any other muscle group in the body. They run from the pubic bone at the front of your body across to the small of the back. These are sling-like muscles that when weakened by pregnancy or childbirth, can lead to accidental loss of urine.
The good news is that like other muscles in the body, you can make them strong again and prevent incontinence.
Finding your pelvic muscles can be done by stopping the flow of urine when you urinate but don’t do this on a regular basis as it is thought to be a cause of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Once you are aware of where these muscles are, simple contract them and hold them for a few seconds.
Do this several times in one set – e.g. 10 clench and release exercises per set – and also performing them two to three times a day. This will not only help incontinence but also during the birth too. You can do these exercises during pregnancy and immediately after the birth too.
- Keep an eye on your weight
You will put weight on during pregnancy – this is the growing baby as well as fluid. There was once a saying ‘eating for two’ but in the modern day, most medical experts would agree that this is a fallacy.
You should follow a healthy diet, with moderate to gentle exercise and avoid some foods and drinks that can make incontinence worse, such as caffeinated drinks, citrus fruits and so on.
Pregnancy incontinence is not a long term problem that means it will affect you for the rest of your life. Practice pelvic floor exercises and follow a healthy diet – and enjoy your pregnancy too!
HARTMANN Direct supply incontinence products for both men and women to domestic and commercial customers. With a range suitable for pregnant women, they have the product you need to help manage pregnancy incontinence.