Pregnancy

Bladder Problems When Pregnant

A healthy pregnancy eating plan can help with a number of issues that arise when pregnant. Here is some information from Ali Pickles, Midwife, about bladder issues that can arise during pregnancy and how you can help ease some of the symptoms.

Having a baby is not as glamorous as the famous people make it look. Unfortunately for women some parts of their body are not quite the same as they are pre-pregnancy. The bladder is a major part of the body that can affect women significantly if issues arise.

Bladder Problems When Pregnant

Cystitis/Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)/ Bladder Infection

Very common in pregnancy and can be quite painful and needs to be treated as soon as possible in pregnancy due the risk of the infection affecting the baby also. Symptoms to look for include bladder irritation, frequent urges to wee, persistent burning when urinating and feeling full but unable to pass adequate amounts of urine. Speak to you doctor as soon as possible.

UTIs are treated with antibiotics that are safe to take during pregnancy. Many urinary tract infections are caused by not emptying the bladder after sexual intercourse. Cranberry juice has been proven to be effective in the prevention of UTI if you drink it daily. Especially if you are finding you are getting several.

Incontinence

One out of three women have some kind of incontinence issues. Many women after having a baby suffer with urinary incontinence causing a great deal of stress. It can affect them socially as well as sexually as they fear being incontinent.

Incontinence can be managed with the correct support from continence nurses and physiotherapists. Bladder incontinence can occur during pregnancy as the weight of the growing baby in the uterus places pressure on the pelvic floor region. Pregnancy hormones allow for the joints and ligaments to relax also causing added pressure on the pelvic floors. Having a caesarean does not prevent bladder problems but can prevent continence problems related to tears from the birth.

There is help out there. Starting with doing regular pelvic floor exercises. Many women do not perform these correctly and need to learn how. They are quick and easy and need to be done regularly. If you are having concerns about bladder problems or doing pelvic floor exercises see a specialist Physiotherapist or Continence Nurse.

Pelvic Floors

The pelvic floors are important in bladder control. It’s a muscle like sling that helps close the bladder, vagina and anus preventing leakage. They also hold your bowel, vagina and uterus in their correct place. After having a baby this muscle can get weakened causing you to leak urine and sometimes bowel contents. When you cough and sneeze you may notice this more. Some women also find that they pass wind uncontrollably.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

  • When starting to do pelvic floors it’s best to sit with your back against a wall or chair or in a cat pose on hands and knees.
  • Sense the feeling of holding in wind and squeeze and hold.
  • The quality of the pelvic floor exercises is more important than quantity when you are learning.
  • If your muscles are weak you may not feel much happening. As you strengthen the muscle you will feel the pelvic floor lift. Squeeze your lower tummy muscles in also but do not put downward pressure on your pelvic floors.
  • As you are reading this I bet you are trying these!!
  • The best tip is to think of something you do everyday and remind yourself to do your pelvic floor exercises. I personally have a reminder set in my phone!
  • It is important to squeeze and lift.
  • For 6 weeks after the birth of your baby do these gently.

As you get stronger in pelvic floor exercises (PFE) set yourself a little routine

  • Four quick ones
  • Four long ones
  • Four slow
  • Repeat this for 3 sets

Constipation

If you are having bladder issues post the birth of your baby it is also important to avoid constipation.

  • Drink plenty of water (more if you are breastfeeding) minimum of 2 litres per day.
  • Add pear or prune juice to your diet daily. Make sure it is unsweetened.
  • Increase fibre in your diet but do it slowly you don’t want to cause bloating.
  • Have plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
  • Take a fibre supplement such as psyllium husks.
  • Try The Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie that contains a good source of fibre.

It is important to perform PFE during pregnancy to assist the muscle during childbirth and so you understand the importance of performing correct OFE post birth. If you are experiencing troubles that cause concern and are not helped by the above make sure you see your doctor, continence nurse or a specialised physiotherapist.

Ali Pickles, Midwife

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Healthy Pregnancy

Disclaimer: Always speak to your doctor before changing your diet,taking any supplements or undertaking any exercise program in pregnancy. The information on this site is for reference only and is not medical advice and should not be treated as such, and is not intended in any way as a substitute for professional medical advice..

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