How To Manage Incontinence When Pregnant


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This article is evidence-based, verified by Dr. Ahmed Zayed.

For many pregnant women, incontinence is a serious issue; whenever you cough, strain, laugh or sneeze, some urine will always be leaking. No matter where or when it occurs, it’s incredibly embarrassing and could have a serious impact on a woman’s quality of life by a staggering 54.3%. Here, you will learn how to restore that control with some helpful tips. 

5 Tips to Control Incontinence in Pregnant Women 

Pregnant women have a necessity to urinate frequently. But, when it becomes difficult to control, that’s when a woman can experience urinary leakage. To manage incontinence efficiently, it’s best to do Kegel exercises, control your weight, change your diet, and avoid any consumables that affect your bladder control. 

The cause of such a problem is relatively simple. Every pregnant woman can experience an increased blood flow to her kidneys from 35% to 60%. The bladder is equipped with nerves that send out signals to our brain. Such signals point out when the bladder is actually full. Then, the brain will send its own signals to notify the system that the bladder should be emptied.  

The signals and muscles work in sync, but when that blood flow is too much to handle, incontinence becomes difficult to manage. The baby in the womb can put a lot of pressure on the canal (the urethra), bladder, and pelvic floor. The more pressure is applied to the organs and muscles, the harder it’s to control urination.  

But, luckily, there are various ways you can manage this problem and boost urinary control. Here, we will focus on the most effective approaches to help extend the time between going to the bathroom by trying out the following tips. We will talk about: 

  • Why you should try Kegel exercises 
  • How diet impacts urinary control 
  • What kind of beverages should you avoid 
  • Why losing weight can be helpful 
  • How to train the bladder 

Why You Should Try Kegel Exercises 

To manage urinary leakage as a pregnant woman, you first have to restore the strength to the pelvic muscles. Keeping these muscles fit can be useful for preventing unexpected urine leakage or stool passage. This can be achieved with regular Kegel exercises. 

These exercises consist of holding, pulling up, and relaxing the pelvic muscles for a very short time. The idea is to slowly increase both the number of exercises and the amount of time for every set. Ideally, two sets every day can have excellent results.  

To do one set, simply pretend as if you are trying to stop yourself from peeing. Squeeze the muscles and pull them in. Hold them for 3 seconds and relax for another 3 seconds. Repeat the same type of contraction ten times for a full set.  

With every next set, increase the holding and relaxing time for a few seconds up to 10 seconds. The more you practice, the more sets you can do in a day. Eventually, you can do 3 or 4 sets a day.   

How Diet Impacts Urinary Control 

Any type of food that causes constipation like gluten-foods, processed foods, dairy or milk products, fast foods, etc., will put a lot of stress on the pelvic floor. Acidic foods can aggravate the muscles. The more pressure you put on the pelvic floor, the more difficult it will be to control the urge. 

To manage urinary leakage with a diet, you need plenty of fiber in your meal. Fiber-rich foods will help the body absorb all the nutrients from the food you eat and help with digestion. They can relieve constipation, which is recognized for causing bladder issues.  Also, try to consume enough omega-3 fatty acids since they have potent anti-inflammatory compounds.  

Dos Donts 
Fiber-rich foods Processed foods 
Plenty of water Dairy products 
Omega-3 fatty acids Fast foods 
 Acidic foods 
 Gluten 

What Kind of Beverages Should You Avoid 

Drinking plenty of water is crucial for a healthy body. That’s why a pregnant woman should consume around 12-13 glasses of water daily. However, with incontinence, it’s important to know what you can and can’t drink. Not all beverages have the same effect as water.  

Drinks like soft/fizzy drinks, alcohol, or coffee may irritate the bladder and cause you to lose control. If you steer clear of such drinks, it will be a lot easier to manage the leaks. You can achieve that by switching all those beverages with water or tea.  

Why Losing Weight Can Be Helpful 

Excess weight adds extreme pressure to the bladder. This type of pressure is often responsible for uncontrollable urine leakage. To handle uncontrolled urine leakage, it’s recommended that you keep moderate and healthy body weight. With a healthy weight, the bladder will have a much easier time to operate properly. 

How to Train the Bladder 

Training the bladder may sound strange, but it’s doable. The goal is to try and urinate every half an hour before you get an urge to do so. Then, slowly increase the time between each bathroom trip to get that control back. It’s all about timing the need to urinate.  

By creating a regular pattern, it will be easier for you to manage the times you have to go to the bathroom. You can train the bladder to hold a bit longer and replenish strength to the weak pelvic muscles. That way, it will be much easier to predict the next bathroom trip.  

Final Thoughts 

Incontinence is a very embarrassing problem for plenty of pregnant women. It can affect them on an emotional and physical level. However, it’s possible to manage the problem, and with the right exercises, diet, weight, and urinary control, it will be much easier to prevent it. With just a little bit of effort, you can achieve favorable results. 

Dr. Ahmed Zayed

Dr. Ahmed Zayed, MD holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. An avid contributor to the Huffington Post and Chicago Tribune, Dr. Zayed believes in providing accurate and accessible information to general readers. With years of writing and editing content in the medical niche, Dr. Zayed likes to think of himself as a man with a mission, keeping the internet free of false medical information.

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