Having suffered from pregnancy incontinence myself for a grueling 18 months (two pregnancies) and a few months after each, when DryDepot approached me and asked if I’d be interested in sharing the tips below, I quickly agreed. Here’s everything you need to know about pregnancy and peeing (note – this is a sponsored post from DryDepot).
Pregnant women can experience all kinds of annoying symptoms throughout each trimester. In the 9 months leading up to the day that a mother finally gets to meet her bundle of joy, a lot of physical changes happen to an expecting mother – for better, or for worse, until baby delivery does her part. Whether in the form of nausea, swelling, or heartburn, one pregnancy symptom that potentially all women can agree to having in common is – incontinence. Which is a fancy way of saying: bladder leakage.
Regardless of the popular taboo associated with the word, incontinence – someone has to talk about it. Uncomfortable, awkward, embarrassing: all common feelings related to having or talking about incontinence. Fortunately, the good news is, it doesn’t have to feel that way. Especially when you’re not alone. The fact is, many pregnant women have experienced incontinence to some degree. And it’s our job to help break the taboo barrier that this bodily function is notorious for creating, as a result of the lack of education and awareness available to the public.
So if it feels like an alien invaded control over all your bodily functions, especially the need to pee, you’ve come to the right place! Here are 5 facts about urinary incontinence that every pregnant woman should know to help better understand this issue, and address it in the best way possible:
1) Pregnant women are at high risk for urinary incontinence – Here’s why:
The female body undergoes a great deal of change during pregnancy. Mechanisms that used to function one way, begin to function a whole other way while pregnant. This is especially true with urinary function, because pregnancy directly affects the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles make up the supportive structure that controls the bladder and the bowels. When the pelvic floor muscles relax, urine is allowed to flow from the bladder and outside of the body. As urination completes, the muscles then contract. In turn, this cuts off urine flow until the next time the body is ready to urinate. Then the process repeats. However, for a pregnant woman, the excess weight of pregnancy and weight gain that comes along with pregnancy, strains the bladder and the pelvic floor muscles. In addition, pregnancy involves an array of hormonal changes that can strain the urinary tract. This strain and pressure then weakens the pelvic floor muscles. As a result, if the pelvic floor muscles cannot contract at the correct time, urine leaks are experienced. Did all this urine talk give you the urge to go? Break time!
2) The less active pregnant women are, the more urinary incontinence will increase:
Easier said than done, but completely possible – the key to decreasing urinary incontinence, is to stay active. Unfortunately, but understandably, many pregnant women with urinary incontinence avoid certain activities such as sex and exercise. However, the same activities done before pregnancy, can still be done while pregnant, just with a little extra effort. While going on a walk at the park may be different with urinary incontinence, pregnant women should not stop exercising or being as active as possible. The less the exercise, the more the leakage. Here’s why: Exercise is very important for managing leakage because it keep excess weight off the pelvic floor muscles, and strengthens the muscles overall. If exercises seems impossible with morning sickness (or all morning, day and night sickness – it should be called), try to go for a walk during the time of day that nausea is the least severe. Bring some water, crackers, or preggo-pops along for the walk to help alleviate symptoms. The bonus to exercise during pregnancy? Everything! A healthier body, less incontinence, and of course, an easier time getting the pregnancy weight off after baby is born. Now, time to go buy walking shoes two sizes larger due to those swollen “pregnancy feet.”
3) Kegels. It’s true, they’re incredibly helpful:
Kegels specifically exercise and tone the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, rectum, and small intestine, also known as the “Kegel Muscles.” Kegels can be performed by squeezing the urinary sphincter, as if holding in urine. Doing kegels sporadically, or squeezing up to ten seconds at a time about 3-4 times a day, can significantly improve incontinence symptoms if done on a regular basis. The best part about kegels, is that they can be done virtually anywhere. That’s one exercise that can be discreetly practiced at the office, while driving, or going for a walk. A few kegels a day, truly keeps the bladder at bay!
4) Certain trigger foods that act as diuretics make symptoms worse:
Pregnancy and food limitations don’t mix for the majority of expecting women with cravings. But, if it means reducing the symptoms associated with incontinence by a certain percentage, it may be worth the extra effort. Some of the main culprits to avoid are spicy foods, citrus foods, juices, dairy products, artificial sweeteners, and carbonated drinks, which are all known to increase the urge to go. However, it doesn’t mean cutting these foods out for the entire pregnancy. When food cravings kick in, just remember moderation is key!
5) An absorbent liner can help keep things dry:
If it’s difficult to stay dry when leakage does occur, an absorbent liner can be used if necessary. However, if leakage is heavier, an adult brief can be used in place of a liner. Adult briefs can be very discreet, and can be worn under usual clothing. In addition, compression shorts, similar to biker shorts, can be worn over briefs or liners to physically support the bladder and decrease the urge to go. Compression shorts also press down on the absorbent liner or brief, to give a more seamless look. This is the preferred method of coverage over some large pads that give the appearance of wearing a diaper. Keep that look for the baby…
When dealing with incontinence while pregnant, a healthier and happier lifestyle can be attained with the right solutions. With exercise, kegels, a change in diet, and a quality absorbent liner or brief, incontinence can be more efficiently managed and controlled.
Last but not least, it’s equally important to remember that in conjunction with physical support, emotional support is just as crucial. Discuss incontinence issues with trusted friends and family, and you’ll realize you’re not alone. Talking about personal incontinence issues is therapeutic, especially if discussed with others who understand where you’re coming from and can respond with two simple, yet powerful words, “me too.”
DryDepot is the number one source for customized adult incontinence solutions and supplies delivered directly and discreetly to doorsteps nationwide. The DryDepot incontinence lifestyle blog, provides the community with wellness tips, medical articles, and pop culture education relating to life with leakage. DryDepot provides bulk size, high-quality, hygienic, disposable adult briefs and incontinence supplies. DryDepot was created to allow customers the flexibility of ordering incontinence solutions and supplies online, to be packaged discreetly for optimal privacy, with a free and fast delivery. For further information visit www.drydepot.com.
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