Urinary incontinence in pregnancy and after childbirth

Urinary incontinence in pregnancy

Who has never lost a drop of urine, especially during pregnancy or after childbirth? Let's start defining what isurinary incontinence: an involuntary loss of urine that can occur in various situations such as after a cough or intense exertion (stress incontinence) or you have so much need to go to the bathroom that you can't help yourself (urge incontinence).

Whatever the origin or the amount lost it remains a very annoying and also very common problem.

What are the reasons why urine is lost during pregnancy? Which ones, on the other hand, after childbirth?

As the pregnancy progresses the volume of the uterus grows with the baby, and being the uterus and bladder very close, part of it rests directly on the bladder, squeezing it. This squeezing together with the normal laxity (ie ease of yielding) of the tissues in pregnancy, can cause the release of a few drops of urine if the bladder is full.

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In the postpartum, however, the main reason is stretching of nerve fibers. Let me explain better, while passing through the birth canal the baby stretches the muscle fibers of the cervix and vaginal wall. These walls are closely connected to the walls of the urethra and are rich in nerve endings responsible for the signals sent to the brain about the state of the bladder. The stretching causes a momentary numbness of the nerve fibers that no longer communicate properly, and therefore when the bladder is full they could also cause small losses of urine.

Is it possible to prevent the disorder and how?

There are several exercises that can be done to try to improve the muscle tone responsible for the final release of urine drops, but before these I want to underline the first fundamental rule, valid for pregnancy and after childbirth but also for life: do not hold urine. In fact, the more the bladder fills, the more its walls stretch, recreating the same situation as the uterus which compresses the nerve fibers. In addition, a full bladder will not be able to take more urine from the kidneys until it is emptied and therefore the chances of leaking increase.


Kegel exercises: fit vagina in 10 moves

How to use the famous Kegel exercises to strengthen the vaginal muscles and the perineum in preparation for and after childbirth, but also to have better sex

Let's now move on to the exercises, they can be performed both during pregnancy and after childbirth.

  1. The first and simpler exercise to keep the pelvic muscles in training especially the one around the urethra is part of the famous Kegel exercises: during urination try to hold the urine for 3 seconds and then continue to urinate, and then repeat. A sort of stop and go for a maximum of fifteen times divided within the day and never more than five times in the same urination. I give you all these numbers because if you exaggerate in performing this type of exercise at a certain point the bladder will no longer respond to the stop, because it is put under excessive stress and therefore the situation worsens instead of improving.
  2. The second exercise is related to breathing: as you inhale, imagine that your perineum is a hand that opens up ready to grab something; as you exhale, grab a hypothetical ball with the muscles of the perineum and squeeze it tightly for three seconds, and then let go. This exercise will improve the contraction capacity of the muscles and therefore may help in retaining urine in the moment of urgency.
  3. The third exercise it links breathing to small movements. It can be performed either standing, sitting or lying down: as I inhale I bring the pelvis back, as if the sacrum wants to touch my back, and I let go of the muscles. As I exhale I bring the pelvis forward closing, tightening the muscles of the perineum in progression, as if you return to the starting position not even a pin can pass through the muscles. And relax. Maximum repetitions ten.
  4. The last important exercise is instead linked to a wider movement and can be performed in two variations. The first variant: Inhale deeply and as you exhale crouch; during the descent, tighten the muscles of the perineum with increasing force, until you reach the point of maximum strength when you are close to the ground. At this point, relax your muscles and lift yourself off the ground. The second variant, on the other hand, concerns pregnant women who may have difficulty bending over. During a normal walk, inhale as you put your right foot forward and exhale (contracting the muscles of the perineum together) as you bring your left foot forward. Maximum number of repetitions of the exercise is ten.

Important when you perform the exercises with breathing and then those with movement, it is do not force the rhythm of your breath or hold your breath. This is because if you hold your breath or on the contrary take too short breaths, not only does the blood not oxygenate and therefore you risk dizziness, but also the pressure inside the body increases in one case and decreases in the other, reflecting on the system. tightness of the pelvic floor muscles.

As you can see, there are four simple exercises you can all do. Tonic muscles in the pelvic floor during the period of maximum relaxation and use such as pregnancy and childbirth, mean health and reduced risk (even after several years) of running into embarrassing problems.

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