Leaking Urine during pregnancy is  common……. but it’s not normal. Don’t worry! We have 3 tips to help!

About half of all women  will experience urinary incontinence  at some point during their pregnancy.

In fact we often meet women in our physiotherapy practice who often laugh off the leaking and say things like, ” I am only leaking now because OF my pregnancy. It will go away once the baby is born”.

But unfortunately, it often doesn’t go away as leaking urine during pregnancy is often the first sign that the pelvic floor and core may not be functioning at it’s BEST.

Pregnancy is a tremendous time of change for your pelvic floor and core (we wrote an entire blog post about it here).  Managing the weight of a growing baby and growing uterus (the pelvic floor lowers up to 1 inch!), increased fluid output, postural changes, stretching (and maybe separation) of the abdominal wall makes pregnancy a very DEMANDING time for the pelvic floor and core muscles.

So leaking when you sneeze, laugh, change positions, or exercise if often a sign you have some work to do in order to prepare your pelvic floor & core for childbirth and your best recovery afterwards.

Compare this to trying to run a marathon without doing any training or preparation. You wouldn’t do it right?

So why would we ignore our core and pelvic floor during pregnancy? Especially if you’re leaking.

Paying attention to and working on your pelvic floor function during pregnancy has benefits for both vaginal birth  and ceserean birth preparation and also sets you up well for postpartum recovery and the demands of motherhood (car seats, and toddlers are heavy!). This is exactly what we cover in DEPTH in our online course: Prental Pelvic Health: Pelvic Floor and Core Basics. 

And here’s the great news.  Recent research has demonstrated hat doing pelvic floor training during pregnancy can be effective at both preventing urinary incontinence during pregnancy but also reversing urinary incontinence during pregnancy.

So in order to get started here are 3 easy to implement tips to support your core & pelvic floor during pregnancy.

 

  1. Learn how to do a correct pelvic floor contraction and relaxation.

 

      2.  Make sure you are not constipated.

Prenatal vitamins, hormones, pressure of the growing baby, makes pregnancy a VERY common time for constipation.  Constipation increases intraabdominal pressure (aka pressure on your bladder and pelvic organs) and irregular bowl movements and straining to empty impact the tone and strength of the pelvic floor.  In clinic we find a lot of women think they are not constipated – but in reality they are.  Using the handy chart below- Type 4 is optimal. Type 3 is acceptable. Type 1 and 2 are considered constipation.

 

Image result for bristol stool chart

 

Toilet positioning can also help with relaxation of the pelvic floor and make for easier emptying. Sitting on the toilet with knees slightly higher than hips is easier for emptying.  The squatty potty is a great tool, but any little stool will do.

3.  Stay active during your pregnancy.

The 2019 Guidelines for physical activity through pregnancy recommend that women should be accumulating 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week (Motorola et al. 2018). Work with your physician and healthcare team to maintain a healthy weight gain during pregnancy. Exercise helps keep muscles strong and healthy and maintaining a healthy body weight reduces excess load on the pelvic floor bladder and pelvic organs.

 

3 easy to implement pelvic floor tips you can start today.  As always if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out [email protected]

 

Hope that helps!

 

Eryn & Katie.

 

 

p.s. as always this post is informational in nature. You should always discuss leaking during pregnancy with your healthcare provider