Urinary Incontinence During Pregnancy: Care Tips
Urinary incontinence during pregnancy is one of the most common complaints from women and I'm here to offer an easy solution: Incontinence Pads for women. But let me offer up some explanations first.
Pregnancy, along with being a joyful time in life, is also a stressful time, emotionally and physically. The body goes through some incredible changes, rather quickly, preparing for the baby inside. Hormones, weight gain, the growth of the uterus and the baby, moving the organs around to make room for the baby, and then water weight all contribute to a pelvic floor that just can't take it anymore! The strain causes the bladder to fall lower and looser and urine escapes.
A little, a lot. It happens. You are not alone! I am going to share some life-changing tips here for all you pregnant women out there.
First off, urinary incontinence is normal in pregnant women.
Our brains still think we humans live in fight or flight mode so when a woman becomes pregnant, instantly the body starts retaining water for the amniotic fluid for the baby, and to create a nice soft cushion around the body should anything happen. With so many of your nutrients and water going to the baby, pregnancy makes women thirsty. The change in hormones in the beginning, usually before you show, make the body flush out any toxins or waste products that have taken up residence in the cells. So you pee, a lot, during the first trimester. This is strictly hormonal and not due to any physical reasons listed above.
And you might think you need to restrict water to stop the incessant bathroom trips but don't! You and your baby need that water and water is the only thing that is going to quench your thirst. Drink up but also plan bathroom breaks. Conscious emptying of the bladder, or bladder cues, is a top method for those caring for the elderly and it will work for you. Drink your water down but every 30 minutes to an hour, get up and make yourself use the bathroom. Flushing water out is so important when you are pregnant. Sweat cools your temperature. Urine flushes out the bacteria in your bladder and urinary tract. And water prevents constipation. You need it, so drink up.
Physically, limiting your weight gain and Kegel exercises are your best friend. I have two children so I know that sleep and carbs are the only thing that make a pregnant woman feel better sometimes. That's okay as long as you also walk and exercise. Your body needs to move to make you feel better but also to keep your muscles in shape for labor (it's a workout!). Limiting weight gain, talk to your doctor first, also limits the weight that your body carries. If your body can carry less weight, it will have less weight to weigh it down and weigh your bladder down. It's terrible that our bladder is basically at the bottom of our body but it's what we have to deal with. Don't strain it! You can also support your bladder and uterus by performing Kegel exercises. Our friends at Kegel8 have made a lovely video explaining Kegel exercises to you [link to video].
If you are doing your Kegels and your bladder training and it's just not working, you can talk to your OB doctor about a pessary or prescription medications. These are medical interventions and may not work for everyone. Also taking any kind of medicine should be done with the consideration of the side effects on your baby. If you have had multiple children, these medical solutions might be what you need but they are probably not necessary if you're pregnant with your first.
So back to what I recommend: Incontinence Supplies. Trust me, you do not want to use a menstrual pad for urine. Bladder pads are a wonderful way to feel confident again if you have urinary incontinence. They come in all thicknesses from panty-liner to overnight, and all lengths. They are woven to wick away moisture and odor and are designed, unlike female mensuration pads, to hold ounces of urine. So they will back you up and keep you dry if you lose a few drops from a sneeze or lose the whole caboodle from a laughing fit. They are disposable and more convenient to carry than multiple pairs of underwear!
Pregnancy should be a joyful time. You have enough on your plate to worry about. Don't let the stress of urinary incontinence ruin it for you.