Incontinence Postpartum

Let’s talk about going for a pee postpartum. After birth your control over your pee may not be quite what you are normally used to!

  • On the one hand, your pee could just start flowing out
  • On the other hand, you could be sitting for what seems like ages, just willing your pee to come out, even if you are desperate.

Make sure you get to the toilet when you first realise you need to pee. You may not be able to hold it in if you wait too long.

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Why does it happen?
  • After birth, the muscles around your urinary tract are looser, which means the pee does not stay in as long as you are used to. Your muscles are stretched and tired.
  • Your bladder has to slowly adapt itself back into position, after being squashed for months on end and could therefore be a strange sensation for a few days postpartum.
  • The nerves that control the bladder may have been damaged or the bladder and urethra may have moved during pregnancy meaning the signals between the brain and bladder may not work properly or may take longer to communicate with each other.
  • Immediately after birth, you may find yourself having to concentrate hard about actually going for a pee. If some nerves have been damaged or perhaps a tube has been squashed, then it may be physically difficult to go for a pee.

Important: if you find you are unable to pee and have a very full bladder, consult your doctor. In some cases the urethra may have been damaged and you will need a catheter to be fitted.

Recommendations

    • Always empty your bladder before you start feeding baby. You don’t know how long you could be sitting there for.
    • It is important to start getting your muscles back into shape almost straightaway after birth to improve incontinence. Start as soon as you can and keep on working at it.
    • Concentrate to make the first small muscle squeezes take effect. Think about squeezing your rectal muscles towards your vaginal muscles. You may not be able to feel anything. Keep on trying and your hard work will eventually pay off.
    • Squeeze and hold your muscles in lengthening intervals. These exercises are called Kegels and are the simplest exercises you can be doing straight after birth.
    • Join a professional pelvic floor rehab course once you have recovered from the birth.

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