How to prevent bladder weakness

Advice on how you can prevent embarrassing accidents during pregnancy with Pilates

Image: Thinkstock

A woman's body goes through many changes during pregnancy, and unfortunately your bladder can often be one of the organs affected by this nine-month baby-growing process.

Bladder weakness, or urinary incontinence, is very common. Fifty percent of pregnant women, and 85 percent of women in their second pregnancy, will experience some degree of bladder weakness. It's most common in the third trimester of pregnancy, when the bladder often has a rapidly growing baby pressed up against it which weakens the pelvic floor muscles.

The pelvic floor muscles are a sling of muscles from the base of your spine to the pubic bone, in the front of the body. They help to hold the bladder, uterus and bowel in place.

The pressure of the baby and hormonal changes during pregnancy cause the pelvic floor muscles to stretch and soften — as the body prepares for birth — but maintaining good pelvic floor strength is important, and can also help you to have a better (ie, faster) labour.

Weakened pelvic floor muscles — affected by pregnancy (and later childbirth) — can "let go" without notice, leading to the involuntary release of urine. This can be brought on by intense physical movements such as coughing, sneezing or when lifting heavy objects — including a new baby.

There are more serious conditions that can cause bladder control issues, so be sure to talk to your healthcare professional about any weakness you are experiencing.

There are simple exercises you can do on a daily basis to help to keep your pelvic floor muscles strong. Pelvic floor exercises — also known as Kegel exercises after their inventor Dr Arnold Kegel — should be performed on a regular basis by all women regardless of age or health.

Kegel exercises involve a clenching of the pelvic floor muscles for three to five seconds then releasing and relaxing for five seconds. Do as many repetitions as you can several times a day and try to increase this each day.

Many women are embarrassed about suffering from bladder weakness, but rest assured it's a common problem for women of all different ages. There are a range of different products available to help you keep your problem from affecting your day to day life, ranging from light liners to heavier pads.

Visit www.poise.com.au for more information and to see a range of products designed to suit your needs. Poise products are also available from the feminine hygiene section of the supermarket.

12:0AM, Dec 1st 2011

comments powered by Disqus

Related articles

 
 
instagram
  • "You feel it coming up your throat and BANG, you’re bordering on a heart attack." Sophie @theyoungmummy confesses her daily struggle with anxiety. Click the link on our profile and search "Anxiety" to read her full story. We applaud Sophie's honesty 👏😘

    mother and baby "You feel it coming up your throat and BANG, you’re bordering on a heart attack." Sophie @theyoungmummy confesses her daily struggle with anxiety. Click the link on our profile and search "Anxiety" to read her full story. We applaud Sophie's honesty 👏😘

    More from the team
  • We love this adorable mummy-daughter moment with a pregnant @___laurenkate and her mini-me. Too cute 💕😘👏

    mother and baby We love this adorable mummy-daughter moment with a pregnant @___laurenkate and her mini-me. Too cute 💕😘👏

    More from the team
  • Discarded crusts anyone? 😁😘

    mother and baby Discarded crusts anyone? 😁😘

    More from the team
  • Check out these sleeping beauties! Harrison & Cleo are adorable but not giving their mum @jade_audrey_love much sleep. What's your best advice for a mum to twin newborns? 😴😴😴

    mother and baby Check out these sleeping beauties! Harrison & Cleo are adorable but not giving their mum @jade_audrey_love much sleep. What's your best advice for a mum to twin newborns? 😴😴😴

    More from the team
  • Eva Mendes on being mum to six-month-old daughter, Esmeralda 👶💕🍼

    mother and baby Eva Mendes on being mum to six-month-old daughter, Esmeralda 👶💕🍼

    More from the team
  • The photos from this mum's maternal assisted caesarean are beautiful. Click the link on our profile to read her remarkable birth story 👏😘

    mother and baby The photos from this mum's maternal assisted caesarean are beautiful. Click the link on our profile to read her remarkable birth story 👏😘

    More from the team
  • This Magical Bunny Patch from @lifelovehiccups is adorable! Help your kids plant magic beans that grow into lollipops! 👏💕🐰💐 #easter

    mother and baby This Magical Bunny Patch from @lifelovehiccups is adorable! Help your kids plant magic beans that grow into lollipops! 👏💕🐰💐 #easter

    More from the team
  • Monday feels better with a smile & a baby cino date! Photo via @brittany_haigh

    mother and baby Monday feels better with a smile & a baby cino date! Photo via @brittany_haigh

    More from the team
  • "How could I ‘fail’ at childbirth? But failure is what I felt. My births didn’t go as planned and I’ve never really recovered from it." Click the link on our profile to read  our full story about Caesarean Shame.

    mother and baby "How could I ‘fail’ at childbirth? But failure is what I felt. My births didn’t go as planned and I’ve never really recovered from it." Click the link on our profile to read our full story about Caesarean Shame.

    More from the team
  • We love this adorable DIY mini terrarium. Check out the tutorial & more sugarless Easter gift ideas from @beafunmum by searching "Terrarium" on our website 🐰🍄🌾

    mother and baby We love this adorable DIY mini terrarium. Check out the tutorial & more sugarless Easter gift ideas from @beafunmum by searching "Terrarium" on our website 🐰🍄🌾

    More from the team