Many women experience incontinence, or the involuntary release of urine, during pregnancy. In fact, anywhere from one-third to half of pregnant women know the unpleasant feeling.
What’s less common, however, is incontinence after giving birth, or postpartum incontinence. While only experienced by 4%-8% of women, postpartum incontinence is nevertheless an embarrassing and problematic health issue that affects women at a time when they have more important things to think about.
The following factors will increase your chance of experiencing postpartum incontinence:
- Vaginal delivery
- Long second stage of labor (the time after the cervix is fully dilated)
- Having large babies
As with other forms of overactive bladder, episodes of postpartum incontinence can be brought on by sneezing or coughing. Because your nerves, ligaments, and pelvic floor muscles have been stretched and possibly injured during pregnancy and delivery, they are not able to to support your bladder and keep your urethra closed when these actions place added stress on them.
Regularly practicing pelvic floor exercises will help to strengthen the system that supports your bladder and may put an end to your postpartum incontinence. However, it’s best to see your doctor to discuss treatment options if the problem persists.
To learn more about incontinence, visit the Vitals Urge Incontinence Patient Guide.
Sources: emedicinehealth.com and babycenter.com