What is incontinence?
Incontinence can be a fairly sensitive or embarrassing subject to those who suffer from it. Incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine or feces from the bladder and bowel. But know this, incontinence is an ACCIDENT, it is something that is uncontrollable and can happen to any expecting mother.
Urinary incontinence affects around 10-13 million men and women, and it is twice as common in women as in men. Anthony Atala, MD, said, “I would say virtually all pregnant women experience some type of incontinence”. Incontinence should not rule your pregnancy or your life.
What does pregnancy have to do with incontinence?
Pregnancy can interfere with the normal way your urethra relaxes and contracts. You are able to urinate when the muscles around your urethra relax, allowing urine to pass through your bladder and out of your body. After urination, the muscles around your urethra contract, holding off urine flow until your body is ready to urinate again. Hormone changes during pregnancy and the additional pressure on the bladder from your uterus can cause stress incontinence. Mothers who are experiencing stress incontinence may urinate whilst sneezing, walking, coughing, laughing, running, and during exercise. Women who have a family history of incontinence, gain more weight than recommended during pregnancy, and are over the age of 35 are at higher risk of experiencing incontinence.
How do I avoid incontinence during pregnancy?
There are numerous ways to avoid pregnancy incontinence, along with visiting a pelvic health physiotherapist, to avoid leakage.
- Schedule your bathroom breaks. Try to make it to the toilet at least every two hours, as when pregnant, women urinate more frequently.
- If you think your bathroom visits are proper, try practicing kegel exercises. Kegels help strengthen the pelvic floor. Practicing a kegel is the same as stopping the flow of urine within your urethra. Contract your muscles to the count of ten and then release. Repeat exercises ten to twenty times in a row two to three times a day. The average time to see results is four to eight weeks of regular practice.
- Watching your weight while carrying has a significant effect on developing incontinence. Women who gain more weight during pregnancy are more likely to experience incontinence. Combining these factors with your pelvic physiotherapist will lower your risk of developing incontinence during your pregnancy, allowing your experience to be worry-free.
If you are still unsure or worried about the risk of incontinence during your pregnancy, contact a pelvic floor physiotherapist at Triangle Physiotherapy. Triangle Physiotherapy has eight convenient locations: Etobicoke, Oakville, Mississauga, North York, Toronto, and King West. At Triangle Physiotherapy, our team is compromised of professionals who love what they do. Triangle staff will ensure that you will have a safe and comfortable pregnancy while in their care, and will help get your pregnancy back on track and in your hands.
Click HERE to book an appointment with a physiotherapist at one of our eight locations.