STRESS INCONTINENCE AND PREGNANCY
Is Stress Incontinence normal in pregnancy?
Stress Incontinence in pregnancy is extremely common, this therefore makes it a “normal” symptom during pregnancy. Stress incontinence can continue after the birth of the baby as a result of damage to the muscles and nerves.
Will Stress Incontinence go away?
Let’s first discuss why stress incontinence is common during pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect the ability of the urinary sphincter (the muscle that regulates the opening and closing of the urinary tube). There is increased pressure due to the weight of the baby, this weight presses on the bladder and weakens the pelvic floor. This can lead to leaking of urine. With this in mind, stress incontinence can start in the first trimester due to hormonal changes and continue (and may even worsen) through to the third trimester as the baby grows.
What causes Stress Incontinence?
The easiest way to tell the difference is the “look and sniff test”. Amniotic fluid is usually colorless, but may have some specks of blood, and has no odor. Urine on the other hand is a shade of yellow and has a distinctive smell. Leaking urine during pregnancy is also often linked to coughing, sneezing etc. A good way to check is to place a sanitary pad or panty liner in your underwear and examine it after 30 min. If you are unsure, it is best to contact your doctor.
What you can do to:
• Pelvic Floor Exercises- before starting any program, please check with your doctor first! Strengthening the pelvic floor can assist your body to withstand the increased pressure on your bladder and sphincters.
• Treat a persistent cough. Ask your doctor to prescribe medication that is safe to use during pregnancy.
• Avoid foods and drinks known to worsen incontinence (etc spicy foods, gassy drinks, chocolate)
• Regulate your fluid intake, too much and too little can both worsen stress incontinence!
Look out for the last edition where we are answering your questions about stress incontinence and lifestyle. Running, exercising, smoking are some of the topics we will be covering!
If you have any questions please contact us! You can either reply to this mail or send us a Whatsapp- 072 4362950.
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