Sometimes pregnancy and childbirth can affect your ability to control your bladder. And, many women have symptoms of frequent urination during pregnancy. If you are currently pregnant, you have probably noticed the extra weight you are carrying on your bladder can cause you to urinate more frequently or have that uncomfortable feeling of frequent urination during pregnancy. Also during and after pregnancy, weakened pelvic floor muscles can contribute to a loss of bladder control or urinary incontinence because of:
• The altered position of the bladder
• Normal vaginal delivery
• Having an episiotomy
• Having some damage to the bladder control nerves
Most often when you experience bladder incontinence after pregnancy it means that your pelvic floor muscles just need time to recover and the condition is temporary. But a bladder control problem that lasts longer than 6 weeks is something you should mention to your healthcare professional. It may mean there is something else in your body that needs attention or you may need some help in getting those muscles back in shape. In fact the inability to control your bladder may not show up until much later, so making sure you maintain healthy strong pelvic floor muscles is important to your everyday enjoyment in life.
If you find yourself in this situation, take heart. There is a way to help prevent and correct urinary incontinence problems at any stage of life. Learning how to do simple exercises called kegels, after the doctor who developed them, can keep you pelvic floor muscles strong and healthy. This simple exercise can be done at any age, anytime, discretely in just about any position.
The main difficulty in having a successful outcome of regaining bladder control when doing kegels is that you may have trouble isolating the right muscle to contract and/or you will be tempted to give up before you see any improvement. It is also important to note that when you take a behavioral approach, it means that it will take time. It is not like taking a pill or having surgery and there are no negative side affects from doing kegels, no recovery time and no invasive procedures. Think of them as you would any good exercise program.
Now, it is possible to use simple devices at home like vaginal weights to not only indicate to you that you are doing the exercises correctly but give you feedback so that you can measure over time how much stronger your pelvic floor muscles are becoming. This is important so that you continue to practice and see results in better bladder control.