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This is your A to Z guide to urinary incontinence after childbirth

Updated on:13 May 2020, 16:59pm IST
If every sneeze makes you leak, then you might be suffering from urinary incontinence postpartum. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
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Urinary incontinence after childbirth happens. Here’s what you need to know about it. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Women who deliver through vaginal births are more likely to have urinary incontinence compared to women who deliver through caesarian procedures. This, of course, does not mean that surgical birth is a better option. Rather, it is important to focus on the various ways to handle urinary incontinence.

Here are some facts about urinary continence to get you started:

What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is when you lose control of your bladder, which can affect about 50% of women during the postpartum period. It could be just a small involuntary leak which might not happen all the time. It can even happen just a few times in a year. That said, there are two types of incontinence though:

The first is caused by an action such as a sneezing, coughing, laughing, or jumping. This is called stress incontinence. Many women experience this from the third trimester onwards as the uterus becomes heavy and presses against the bladder. Additionally, there are hormones that make your tissues and joints more elastic to prepare your body for delivery and hence the bladder loses some of its support.

symptoms of uti
If sneezing or laughing makes you leak, then you have a case of stress incontinence. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The second type of incontinence is when your bladder is very active, which means that when you feel the need to use the bathroom you may actually leak before you make it. This is called urge incontinence.

You might experience a combination of both stress and urge incontinence in your postpartum period.

What can you do to manage postpartum urinary incontinence?
Having a cesarean section is naturally not the answer, since most women who surgically deliver, do end up with some kind of incontinence later in life, if not now. It is important then, to start thinking about toning your pelvic floor muscles during and post pregnancy.

kegel exercises
Do Kegel exercises to keep urinary incontinence in check. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Many women worry about toning the abdomen and buttocks in the postpartum period but doing Kegels which are pelvic floor exercises can actually be more beneficial. Kegels, if done correctly can actually minimize both stress and urge urinary incontinence. Start doing Kegel exercises from the fourth month of pregnancy and continue doing them in the postpartum period.

If the problem persists beyond a year and/or you find yourself unable to go about your day-to-day activities because of the incontinence, consult with your doctor.

(This story has been published with permission from Baby Chakra, without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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