Urinary incontinence in pregnant women is a fairly common problem. According to statistics, it happens to a third of all women who bear a child. Is this condition dangerous? How to deal with incontinence and is it worth it? We answered these and many other questions in this publication.
What is it and what are the causes of this condition?
So, urinary incontinence in pregnant women is very common, but not always. This pathology is manifested by constant or periodic leakage of urine. Moreover, the amount of discharge in different cases can also be different. Sometimes these are just a few drops of urine, which, in principle, do not affect the quality of life of the expectant mother, and sometimes a pregnant woman has to change wet underwear several times a day and constantly wear special pads for women. These are not the usual hygiene products that are used during menstruation, but special fast-absorbing urological inserts.
There are as many as five reasons for which urinary incontinence occurs inpregnant women. The causes of this pathology may be as follows:
- Weakness of the pelvic floor muscles.
- Reduction of the sphincter.
- Increase in the size of the uterus and its pressure on the bladder.
- Overdistension of the walls of the bladder.
- Stress urinary incontinence.
In pregnant women, the baby himself is often the culprit of urine leakage - moving, he presses on the bladder, provoking involuntary discharge of its contents.
Should I go to the doctor?
Urine incontinence in pregnant women is a completely harmless condition for both the woman herself and her child. It brings only minor discomfort in the life of the expectant mother. But a consultation with a gynecologist in the presence of such a problem is mandatory.
You need to see a doctor in order to exclude a very serious pathological condition that sometimes occurs in pregnant women - leakage of amniotic fluid. Amniotic fluid can ooze from the fetal bladder even if it is micro-ruptured and thinned, and this is fraught with infections in the water and infecting the child with various diseases.
In order to determine the root cause of the discharge from the genitourinary system, the doctor will do a series of studies and tests. During the examination, the gynecologist will also determine how big a woman's belly is during pregnancy and whether she should make adjustments to her diet. This indicator is especially important in the last trimester, when the weight of the expectant mother increases as much as possible. Excessive weight gain is also a contributing factorfor urinary incontinence in pregnant women.
How long does this problem show up?
As already mentioned, there are several causes of incontinence in pregnant women. All of them have their own nature of occurrence, which determines the timing of the appearance of this annoying problem.
The most common cause of urinary incontinence is the hormonal background of a woman, or rather, significant changes in it. Under the influence of progesterone, muscles lose their elasticity. In this regard, the sphincter, which closes the opening to the bladder, is unable to retain the contents of the organ. These changes occur literally at the beginning of pregnancy, and therefore incontinence can begin as early as the first trimester. Also, due to hormonal changes, the so-called stress urinary incontinence occurs in pregnant women (when sneezing, coughing or a sudden movement, a small amount of urine is released from the bladder). Note that this condition is not associated with nervous shocks and depression.
In the future, the problem arises due to other changes in the woman's body - an enlarged uterus presses on the bladder. During pregnancy, it changes its proportions so much that it displaces all the internal organs in the abdominal cavity, so interruptions in the work of many systems are quite logical.
But overstretching of the walls of the bladder is usually observed in the second half of pregnancy. This condition is characterized by a constant desire to defecate, and even after going to the toilet, the unpleasant feeling does not disappear.
Urinary incontinence that occurs in pregnant women is often accompanied by a number of additional unpleasant symptoms. First of all, it is necessary to include frequent and sharp urges to go to the toilet. The fact is that the deformed bladder, which is constantly under pressure from the enlarged uterus, sends signals to the brain about its overcrowding. The woman constantly thinks that she wants to urinate, but she does not succeed in doing it completely, and she has to go to the ladies' room again and again. In order to empty the bladder as much as possible, you need to sit on the toilet while urinating slightly with your torso forward. This position helps to ensure that the large belly does not press on the urethra. During pregnancy, it is not the main factor provoking incontinence, but in any case it prevents the expectant mother from doing everything as she used to.
Treatment of urinary incontinence in pregnant women
This condition does not require any special procedures and activities from a woman. If she was among the mothers suffering from incontinence, she just needs to take better care of herself. First of all, it concerns personal hygiene. It is important to change underwear in time, use urological pads, wash yourself twice a day using soap or special products for intimate hygiene. Also, in no case should you restrain the urge to urinate. If you want to go to the toilet, then you need to satisfy this as quickly as possible.need.
Urine is a breeding ground for bacteria, and if a pregnant woman does not keep herself clean and dry, she runs the risk of "earning" a urinary tract infection. Her treatment for the expectant mother will become extremely problematic, because pregnant women are strictly forbidden to take many medicines until the very birth.
However, doctors recommend that their patients use several effective techniques that can help manage or minimize incontinence.
Special exercise: Kegel exercises
The most affordable and effective way to eliminate the problem under discussion is to exercise for those muscle groups that are responsible for this process. It is necessary to train the muscles of the pelvic floor, and this is done with the help of a set of exercises developed by the American gynecologist Arnold Kegel back in 1940. Since then, his recommendations have not lost their relevance, but, despite the widespread use of the method, not all women know how to do Kegel exercises correctly.
Their essence is to train the muscles located between the anus and the vagina. To do this, it is necessary to strain this zone and hold it in good shape for 5 seconds. Then, after a ten second break, again squeeze the muscles of the pelvic floor. Gradually, the muscle tension time increases to 10 seconds. You need to do up to 10 approaches at a time, and the exercises themselves need to be performed 3-4 times a day. At the same time, the press, buttocks, internal andouter thighs should be relaxed. To check yourself and find out if you are training the right area, you should delay the process of urination while emptying the bladder. By doing this, the woman will feel exactly which muscles need to be used when doing Kegel exercises.
By the way, such exercises are useful not only for the prevention of urinary incontinence. Women who regularly do Kegel exercises will find it easier to have a baby, they significantly increase the chances that the delivery will take place without tears and cracks in the surface of the vagina.
What is the use of a bandage?
First of all, wearing it helps to reduce the load on the back. A rapidly growing belly puts strong pressure on a woman's spine, because of this, she quickly gets tired, becomes awkward and awkward, and her lower back often hurts. The bandage helps to unload the back, and in many ways makes it possible to eliminate all these unpleasant manifestations of an interesting position.
In addition, the prenatal bandage for pregnant women lifts the tummy, which is especially important in the last trimester. The belt supports the abdomen, relieving pressure on the perineum, and minimizes pressure on the bladder and vagina. This helps to reduce the various discomforts that women experience during pregnancy.
Gynecologists believe that with each subsequent pregnancy, a woman's muscles are getting worse and worse at maintaining an enlarged belly. Therefore, for those who are carrying their second or third baby, recommendations for wearing prenatalbandage for pregnant women must be listened to especially carefully.
Using sanitary napkins
If incontinence has become a real problem for a woman, does not allow her to freely leave the house on business or makes her feel uncomfortable, special urological pads should be used. Ordinary liners that girls use during menstruation are not suitable for these purposes - they do not absorb liquid quickly enough and in a rather small amount. Urological pads for women, on the contrary, cope with this task many times faster. In addition, they reliably block the unpleasant smell of urine. These products come in a variety of sizes and are suitable for women with mild to moderate incontinence.
When does the problem go away?
Unfortunately, it will not be possible to get rid of urinary incontinence immediately after childbirth. Moreover, if the mother was injured during the birth of the baby, the problem may worsen. Because of this, it is so important that a woman does not hold back urination during pregnancy, and after childbirth, as soon as possible (within two hours), she goes to the toilet on her own, without using a catheter. After about two to three months, incontinence usually resolves on its own, but if this does not happen, you should contact a specialist urologist who will prescribe adequate treatment.