Pregnancy places a lot of new additional stress on your pelvic floor muscles, causing them to weaken in as little as twelve weeks. At times it may feel as though your baby is playing a game with your bladder at the most inconvenient times.
If you are having trouble controlling your bladder while pregnant, here’s a few tips to help you manage the symptoms:
- Do your pelvic floor exercises!
Pelvic floor exercises, or Kegel exercises are designed to support and strengthen the pelvic floor. Correct contraction of the pelvic floor muscles involves squeezing and lifting under the pelvis up into the body, around the vagina. Other parts of the body should be completely isolated avoiding activation of the glutes and inner thighs. Complete at least 30-40 contractions a day, aiming to work up to 10 seconds per contraction. For instance, complete 10 repetitions, 3-4 times per day. We know it can be difficult to find the time but you will be grateful in the end. And even if you can only manage a handful of some days that will be better than none at all.
- Keep your weight gain moderate
Ensure your weight gain during pregnancy is progressing moderately by staying active and exercising within your limits. Follow a healthy and nutritious diet, as well as including fibrous foods to avoid constipation as this can add additional pressure on the pelvic floor.
- Don’t cut back on water intake
Avoiding water will not solve the issue and may make you prone to other conditions such as urinary tract infections and dehydration. It is advised to keep drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day.
- Avoid foods and beverages that irritate the bladder
Beverages such as tea, coffee, alcohol and soft drinks can increase bladder activity, as well as acidic products and spicy foods can also irritate the bladder. Try to avoid these items, however continue to include essential fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Manage the issue
If you suffer leaks during pregnancy, it is advised to use panty liners to absorb any urine. This will help you cope rather than to restrict your activity or interfere with daily life.
Despite continuing with pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy, it is possible that your pelvic floor will weaken due to the weight of the baby and the impact of child birth. Innovotherapy is recommended from six weeks after giving birth, with significant improvements in as little as four weeks.1 Ensure you seek medical approval from your doctor before using the INNOVO® device. Now available in LloydsPharmacy stores and online here.
1) Soeder S, Tunn R. (2012) – Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) of the Pelvic Floor Muscles using a Non-Invasive Surface Device in the Treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI); A Pilot Study. IUGA Poster Presentation Conference, Dublin, Ireland (2013)