Urine Leaks During Pregnancy and After Birth
Little leaks in pregnancy and after birth
You’re eight months pregnant, desperate to pee, and trying to turn the key in the stiff lock of your front door. By the time you’ve made it to the bathroom, you’ve leaked a little. Sound familiar? Many women leak urine in pregnancy and after having a baby. We look at why, and give you some simple tips for a stronger pelvic floor.
Leaking urine during pregnancy
Major changes are happening in your body – it’s not surprising that your urinary system is one of the things that’s affected.
During pregnancy blood volume increases progressively, causing kidneys to produce more urine – so you’ll go to the bathroom more. As your uterus expands with your growing baby it puts pressure on your bladder.
Hormones that prepare your ligaments and joints for delivery weaken the muscles that control urine flow, while constipation (common in both pregnancy and after birth) will put even more stress on your pelvic floor and bladder. This affects the support around your urinary tract, meaning little leaks are more likely.
You might need to get up once (or several times) during the night to pee. That’s because fluid retention in your legs and feet will find its way back into your bloodstream when you lie down.
Stress urinary incontinence during pregnancy
This is when you pee a little because there’s increased pressure on your bladder, like when you laugh, cough or sneeze. It’s pretty common, so try not to worry.
When I leak during pregnancy, is it always pee?
Little leaks during pregnancy are most likely urine. If you put a liner in your pants and the fluid is yellowish in color, then it’s probably pee.
Of course, if you’re at all worried that you could have amniotic fluid leakage you should contact your doctor or midwife – a quick scan will determine if everything’s as it should be.
Leaking urine after pregnancy
Months of pregnancy are followed by the main event – labor! By the time your baby’s ready to come into the world, your organs (including your bladder and urethra) will have moved around a lot to make room for this new life. Pelvic floor muscles (surrounding your urethra, vagina and anus) will have been stretched and pulled in all directions, so it’ll take time for things to get back into shape.
Can labor affect my bladder?
If your labor involved a lot of pushing, your pelvic floor will have taken the strain – you might experience light loss of bladder control for a while afterwards.
If you feel you’re the only person experiencing little leaks, remind yourself that they’re common after birth. And that your body’s doing a great job adjusting to all the changes.
How long will I be leaking urine for?
You might have them during the later stages of pregnancy and the first few weeks after giving birth. Or you could have the odd accident for a longer period of time.
Although little leaks are common, they can seem like a big deal. Wearing a thin liner means you won’t have to worry about accidents. TENA Liners and Ultra Thin Pads keep you dry and protected – meaning no more walking around in wet knickers until you find time to change.
If you’re worried that something more serious is happening with your bladder, it’s worth booking an appointment with your doctor.
Simple tips for a stronger pelvic floor
We’ve got some simple exercises here to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles that only take a few minutes a day. If you’ve recently giving birth it’s a good idea to start them lying down so you avoid putting any extra pressure on the pelvic area, but over time you can practice pretty much anywhere. So, next time you’re driving and you hit a red light, you know what to do!
Take time to pee properly
Often, when you’re busy there’s a temptation to rush bathroom visits. But even a small amount of pee left in your bladder will make you more prone to urinary infections. Always try to empty your bladder completely. Leaning forward on the toilet seat is the best position for getting rid of every last drop.
Increase the minutes between toilet visits
Your bladder holds less urine during late pregnancy because it’s being restricted by your baby. So after birth, it needs to get used to holding more.
You should aim to pee between 4-8 times a day, or every 4-6 hours. Typical bladder capacity is 10-17 fl oz – so if you find you’re peeing a lot less than this, try to increase the time between bathroom visits. This will help increase the amount your bladder can hold, while also exercising your pelvic floor muscles.
Stay well hydrated
Even if you’re finding it difficult to control your bladder, never restrict the amount of water you drink – especially if you’re breastfeeding. If you’re dehydrated your urine will be more concentrated. This can irritate the bladder and cause an urge to pee (even if your bladder is not even full).
Drinking helps digestion, eases constipation and keeps urine healthy (and make you less likely to get bladder or urinary tract infections).
Special liners for those little leaks
You might be tempted to pop a period liner in your pants because you already have some in your bathroom cabinet. But because TENA Liners and Ultra Thin Pads have been specifically designed to absorb urine, they’ll keep you drier than regular feminine protection products.
They also feature Triple Protection from leaks, odor and moisture. For more info on our TENA Liners and Ultra Thin Pads, check our product page here
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You're not alone. Millions of women suffer from leakage issues throughout different periods in their lives. Read their stories.