During pregnancy, the woman experiences cchanges in the different systems that govern the human body in general and the urinary system is one of them. The uterus, which rests on the bladder, increases in size and weight over the weeks. In this way, it puts increasing pressure on the bladder and its storage capacity is diminished. It is normal for the urge to urinate to increase. On the other hand, due to the hormonal increase, the internal urethral sphincter of the bladder has less capacity to contract and, as soon as the bladder has urine, it relaxes and causes leaks.
The need to go to the bathroom frequently is normal in pregnancy. However, frequent urination should not be confused with incontinence.
1. Urge incontinence. It is the need to urinate continuously, the inability to hold once the urge comes. In most cases, it is associated with neurological pathologies or overactive bladders.
2. Stress incontinence In pregnancy, there are times when urine leaks come after coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting a weight. They are known as stress incontinenceand they are mainly due to the weakness of the pelvic floor muscles.
3. Imixed continence. It occurs when those mentioned above come together.
Pregnant women often suffer from stress urinary incontinence due to weakness of the abdominal girdle and perineal muscles. Its operation can be built using a simile. Let's imagine a balloon filled with water, with a somewhat loose knot. The knot represents the pelvic floor and the globe the abdominal capacity. When you cough, laugh, lift a weight, or sneeze, the pressure on the abdomen increases, pressing on our balloon.
It is as if we squeezed it with force and consequently the water will want to come out. If the knot is well done, if it is strong, it will not escape, but if it is loose, the water will come out. This is what happens in our body. When the bladder has urine, when you cough, laugh or sneeze, abdominal pressure increases and this pushes the bladder. If the pelvic floor is contracted, there will be no leakage, but if it is weak and does not hold the pressure, we will have a urine leak.
Stress incontinence is usually transitory and relatively easy to prevent. Achieving a good condition of the pelvic floor to control when we want the output of urine is essential. To achieve this, we must have good muscle tone and resistance of the perineal muscles and the ability to contract and relax it when desired.
Kegel exercises are very effective in restoring muscle tone and strengthening the pelvic floor. The important thing is to be constant since they do not have immediate effect. The results begin to be noticed after 6-8 weeks. As extra measures, try to avoid excessive fluid and spicy intake, constipation and maintain good intimate hygiene to avoid infections. And, above all, to help, it contracts the perineal muscles when coughing, laughing or sneezing. The doctor, the midwife and the physiotherapist will be able to tell you what the measures are and the relevant exercises to maintain the good condition of your pelvic floor.
Marián Zamora Saborit
Physiotherapist. Pilates Technician
Psychomotor in Early Childhood Education
Contributor to our site
Marián Zamora's blog
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