Postpartum incontinence is urinary incontinence, an unconscious bladder release following childbirth. Most of the time, it appears like a leak of a small amount of urine from a full bladder, occurring after any type of physical activity. It can also happen when you sneeze, cough, or laugh too much. A study conducted in 2004 revealed that postpartum incontinence is quite common among women after giving birth. It can also occur during pregnancy, resulting in bladder control issues after childbirth. According to this study, women who have had incontinence during pregnancy are at a higher risk of experiencing postpartum incontinence. While incontinence can happen to women regardless of age, it is more common for those who have just given birth.
How long does postpartum incontinence last?
Postpartum incontinence can last for a couple of weeks or months. Fortunately, you can take a few steps to control your bladder and recover sooner. In the meantime, you can find recommended incontinence products to help absorb leaking and make you feel more comfortable during this time.
Causes of postpartum incontinence
As women go through pregnancy and childbirth, the pelvic region’s muscles and other soft tissues experience some difficulties. As the bladder fills, the muscles surrounding the urethra are compressed. Because of pregnancy and childbirth, they have been stretched and become weak. Also, pregnancy brings about hormonal changes in the body, including chemical processes that result in the elasticity of the ligaments. Weaker muscles and stretchier ligaments facilitate urine leakage. Some experts also believe that postpartum incontinence may be connected to other factors. For instance, women who deliver normally may experience incontinence after giving birth, as opposed to those who have undergone a C section. Other factors include genetics, being overweight, multiple pregnancies, a previous pregnancy, incontinence before and during pregnancy, or a forceps delivery. Another theory is sustaining an injury during childbirth.
How to improve postpartum incontinence
- Kegel exercises. As soon as you can, you should consider Kegel exercises that help keep your pelvic muscles stronger. Pelvic exercises are done by squeezing pelvic muscles for a couple of seconds before releasing. If you need help, you can work with physical therapists to help you work on your pelvic floor muscles.
- Take more fibre. Fibre is excellent in preventing constipation following childbirth. By including more fibre in your diet, you avoid full bowels that can add more pressure to your bladder.
- It is necessary to hydrate by taking the recommended eight glasses of water daily. Dehydration can lead to urinary tract infections. It would help to limit your intake of fluids before going to bed if you tend to have incontinence at night. Avoid coffee, soda and alcoholic beverages that may cause bladder irritation.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can add pressure to your bladder and cause urinary incontinence.
While postpartum urinary incontinence is quite common, you may want to consult with your doctor if it lasts much longer and you have tried to manage it without success.