Loss of Bladder Control after Giving Birth

After birth, especially a vaginal birth, your control over your bladder will most likely be really weak.

You may find yourself getting caught out if you don’t react quickly enough when you realise your bladder is getting full. On the one hand, you may get caught short, on the other hand, you may really be bursting to go but have to wait ages on the toilet for something to actually happen (see Urinating postpartum).

Warning – coughing, sneezing or jumping on a trampoline may cause leakage! Many of my friends don’t dare to jump on a trampoline any more. Or at least not without emptying their bladder beforehand. Be sure to sort your pelvic floor out postpartum, make sure you train your muscles back up to full strength again.

Why do Women get a Weak Bladder after Giving Birth?

  • Your pelvic floor muscles have been weakened
  • Firstly by carrying the extra weight of a baby around and
  • Secondly from the pushing during birth
  • Thirdly from the effect of the hormone Relaxin which serves to relax the muscles and ligaments in preparation for birth

Recommendations for Strengthening Your Bladder Muscles

  • Make sure you go to the toilet when you first realise you need to pee. Otherwise you might get caught out.
  • It’s important to do some muscle training (kegels) as soon as you can after the birth. Start by squeezing your vaginal muscles together and then holding them for longer and longer. At first you may not be able to squeeze them as they may be so weak. Or you may not be able to feel your muscles at all. But keep it up and you will have good muscle control within a few days which will make it a lot easier when going to the toilet. These small muscle contractions are just the start. There is a lot more to getting your pelvic floor properly back into shape.
  • Join a professional pelvic floor rehabilitation course to ensure you build your muscles back up to strength properly.