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Pregnant or not, don’t let urine leaks define how you live your life

You may be familiar with the scenario. You’re pregnant and desperate to pee. You’re trying to turn the key in the stiff lock of your front door. By the time you’ve made it to the bathroom, you’ve leaked a little. You’re not alone. Women of all ages leak urine – during pregnancy, when they sneeze, cough or even laugh, life’s events both small and large can cause these leaks. In this article, we look at the reasons why and present some great tips to help you deal with this surprisingly common problem.

Stock photo - Posed by model.

A pregnant woman holds her belly while standing by a window

Why do women leak urine during pregnancy?

There are several reasons you need to pee more when pregnant, all of which are perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.
 
  1. During pregnancy blood volume increases progressively, causing kidneys to produce more urine – so you’ll go to the bathroom more. As your uterus expands with your growing baby it puts pressure on your bladder. 
  2. Hormones that prepare your ligaments and joints for delivery weaken the muscles that control urine flow, while constipation (common in both pregnancy and after birth) will put even more stress on your pelvic floor and bladder. This affects the support around your urinary tract, meaning little leaks are more likely. 
  3. You might need to get up once (or several times) during the night to pee. That’s because fluid retention in your legs and feet will find its way back into your bloodstream when you lie down. 
  4. You may also experience what is known as stress urinary incontinence. This is when you pee a little because there’s increased pressure on your bladder, like when you laugh, cough or sneeze. It’s pretty common, so try not to worry. 

When I leak during pregnancy, is it always pee?

Urine leaks during pregnancy are most likely urine. If you put a liner in your underwear and the fluid is yellowish in colour, then it’s probably pee. If you’re at all worried that you could have amniotic fluid leakage, contact your doctor or midwife – a quick scan will determine if everything’s as it should be and put your mind at ease.

Post-pregnancy urine leakage

By the time your baby’s due, your organs (including your bladder and urethra) will have moved around a lot to make room for this new life. Pelvic floor muscles (surrounding your urethra, vagina and anus) will have been stretched and pulled in all directions. Try to be patient and remember that after giving birth, it takes time for the body to readjust itself.
 
What effect did labour have on my bladder?
If labour involves a lot of pushing and straining, this inevitably has an effect on the pelvic floor. This can cause light loss of bladder control for a while afterwards. This is completely natural and extremely common. Just keep reminding yourself that you and your body need time to readjust and that millions of women have had the same experience.

How long will these urine leaks last?

Generally, these will occur during the later stages of pregnancy and the first few weeks after giving birth. At the same time, it’s not uncommon to have the odd accident now and again over a longer period of time. 
 
Although leaks are common, you’re not obliged to let them define how you live your life. Wearing TENA Lady products (LINK) means you can relax and be confident in the knowledge that if they occur, you’ll stay dry, odour-free and comfortable, wherever you are and whatever the circumstances.
 
However, if you’re concerned that you have a more serious bladder problem, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor. 

Four great tips that help reduce urine leaks

1. Develop a stronger pelvic floor 
A strong pelvic floor can help reduce the risk of urine leaks. Here (LINK) you’ll find some simple exercises you can do at home that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Women of all ages tell us that doing these exercises for a few minutes a day really helps. It makes them feel confident and more in control of their bodies, which is always a good thing! 
 
If you’ve recently given birth, it’s a good idea to start them lying down to avoid putting any extra pressure on the pelvic area. However, over time you can practice pretty much anywhere. Even when driving, sitting on the bus or at your workplace! 
 
2. Don’t rush your toilet visit
We’re all guilty of this! When you’re stressed, it’s tempting to rush a bathroom visit. This is never a good idea – leaving even a small amount of urine in the bladder increases the risk of developing urinary infections. So always try to empty your bladder completely. A great tip here is to lean forward on the toilet seat. This is the body’s most effective position in terms of emptying the bladder. 
 
3. Try to increase the time between toilet visits
During the latter stages of pregnancy, your bladder holds less urine as it’s being restricted by your baby. Naturally, after you’ve given birth, it needs to get used to holding more again. 
 
As a general rule, you should pee between 4-8 times a day or every 4-6 hours. Average bladder capacity is around 300-500ml so if you find you’re peeing a lot less than this, try to increase the time between bathroom visits. This will help increase the amount your bladder can hold and at the same time it will exercise those important pelvic floor muscles. 
 
4. Don’t be tempted to drink less water
It’s the most natural conclusion in the world – I’m peeing too often so I’ll drink less water. We can’t emphasise enough how wrong this is! Even if you’re finding it difficult to control your bladder, never restrict the amount of water you drink, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Drinking less leads to dehydration, which in turn causes your urine to be more concentrated. This can irritate the bladder creating the urge to go to the toilet even when the bladder isn’t full. So stay well hydrated – drinking water helps digestion, eases constipation and keeps urine healthy, which reduces the risk of developing bladder or urinary tract infections.  

Why use standard liners when there’s a better alternative?

Using a standard panty liner might be your first choice in dealing with these leaks. They’re handy and you probably have some at home or in your handbag but remember, they’re not designed specifically for dealing with urine leakage. The TENA Lady range, however, is. Our products offer triple protection from leaks, odour and moisture and thanks to their unique microPROTEX™ technology, they’re super absorbent. – and despite their superior qualities, they’re no larger than an average menstrual towel. Check out the full range here (LINK) and don’t hesitate to contact us to find out the right product for you. 

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