Have a baby.
It'll be fun, they say...
It is all fun and games until you are peeing every time you sneeze
or every time someone says something too funny!
Not to mention jumping on a trampoline is a thing of the past...
Pregnancy and postpartum incontinence is the butt of many jokes and facebook memes,
but it is really frustrating and can be super embarrassing.
So, why exactly does it happen?
The main reason is because your pelvic floor muscles have taken a beating. Even if you have a cesarean, your muscles have stretched and held up quite a lot of extra weight and pressure for a long 9 months. Those muscles that typically help you start and stop the urine flow are just not what and where and how they used to be.
Hormones and your uterus shrinking back down, putting direct pressure onto your bladder can play a big factor as well.
So, what in the world can you do?
We've probably all heard of kegals by this point, but if not it is the exercising/ tensing of your pelvic floor muscles. Like stated above, incontinence is caused by loss of pelvic floor control and strength, these directly target those muscles to help get them into shape.
We probably all know what squats are as well. They help work the pelvic floor muscles in a different way than kegals do and are a perfect compliment. Just ensure you google some good form videos and are doing them properly!
Drink more water.
While it sounds counter intuitive, drinking less only makes you vulnerable to dehydration and UTIs, it doesn't help.
Panty liners and pads.
A lot of the time a small panty liner will be enough to take care of the little bit of a leak you may have, but if not some thin pads are a good option as well. There are so many super trim options out there at this point, no one will ever know and they are super fast absorbing.
Cross you legs.
While this isn't a long term fix, it does help in the moment.
Don't wait until you feel you really have to urinate. Set a timer on your phone and try going every 30-45 minutes and start spreading it out further and further each day. Sometimes we just have to retrain our bodies to help the physical connection.
Talk to your doctor.
They are your best starting off place for what may work more long term if it is an ongoing issue and also may have some treatments, ideas, and options for you.
Seek out a pelvic floor specialist.
Pelvic floor specialists used to only be used for serious issues, but more and more we are realizing what an amazing asset they are to every person post birth! If you don't know one ask your doctor for a referral, they can give you some of the best advice and tips and help you out with targeted exercises.
There's no quick fix for it.
There are medications out there that can help as well,
but once again, your best first line of defense is talking with your care provider about options and ideas.
It happens to nearly every person postpartum and while it may happen at the most inconvenient times,
it isn't just you and you're not alone in the struggle to cough without needing to be on the toilet every time!
Jessica Anne Dill