Pregnancy and motherhood change your body in so, so, so many ways! We get that! Here’s one way your body may change that many new moms face, but few talk about: bladder leaks. Find out why a sensitive bladder happens and how you can manage it in healthy ways so your focus is exactly where it should be — on your little one.
How Pregnancy Can Cause Incontinence
During your pregnancy, the weight of carrying your baby can weaken your pelvic floor muscles. Then, during labor, your birth canal stretches to let your newborn through. As it stretches, your pelvic floor muscles stretch out too. A weakened pelvic floor can weaken your bladder control.
Here are some factors that may also add to your risk of developing urinary incontinence:
- Having your first baby
- Delivering a large baby
- Experiencing a long labor or a difficult vaginal delivery
Did you have a caesarean section? Some might think that a C-section can eliminate the impacts of labor on the pelvic floor. Actually, the weight of carrying your baby through your pregnancy can also weaken your pelvic muscles. So even if you had a C-section, you may still experience a sensitive bladder.
Symptoms of Post-pregnancy Incontinence
If you have weak pelvic floor muscles, you may leak urine when you cough, sneeze, lift, laugh or do exercise. You may feel an urgent need to empty your bladder more frequently. Another symptom is waking up at night frequently to use the restroom or experiencing some bladder leaks as you sleep.
What Can I do about Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles?
Weakened bladder control just after giving birth will often improve in the first six months as your body heals. Regular Kegel exercises, or pelvic floor muscle training, will help get your strength and control back even more quickly.
Also, remember that any "pushing down" action in the first weeks after labor may stress or further stretch your pelvic floor. Protect those muscles by following these tips:
- Squeeze, lift and hold your pelvic floor muscles before you sneeze, cough, blow your nose or lift an object
- Cross your legs and squeeze tightly together before coughing or sneezing
- Do not lift heavy loads
- Avoid exercises that make your pelvic area feel strained
If your sensitive bladder doesn’t improve after six months, talk to your doctor. He or she can help try new ideas for treatment or explore other possible causes of the urinary incontinence you’re experiencing.
To take care of bladder leaks as they happen, wear light incontinence protection that’s specifically designed for urinary incontinence. ALWAYS DISCREET incontinence liners and pads are a perfect fit. ALWAYS DISCREET liners have a thin and flexible design and feature exclusive technology that helps neutralizes urine odors. For a bit more leaking, try our ALWAYS DISCREET incontinence pads. They are up to 45% thinner* and yet absorb 2x more than you may need.**
*than the leading brand
**based on average U.S. consumer usage