Coping With Incontinence After Childbirth
Giving birth is one if not the most amazing experiences, and although for some the pain can be almost unbearable, the minute that little bundle of joy is placed on your chest and you see him or her for the first time, that pain dissipates in seconds and everything is worth it.
Unfortunately for many women, the same cannot be said for urinary incontinence, which can last for many months or even years after giving birth.
What’s worse is that it can lull you into a false sense of security, where all seems fine, and then a fit of the giggles or a sneeze produces that sinking feeling when you suddenly leak without any warning.
Don’t Suffer In Silence - Consult Your GP
The good news is that in the vast majority of situations urinary incontinence can normally be treated, with a high degree of success. The bad news is that quite a high percentage of women don’t discuss the problems with their doctor for fear of embarrassment, which results in the suffering for no real reason.
Your GP sees many issues on a daily basis that are much more embarrassing than incontinence, so the primary piece of advice for anyone dealing with this issue is to book an appointment with your doctor as quickly as possible.
As A Mum Never Forget How Important You Are
One of the biggest issues with many new mums is that they instantly put the baby first. Rather than worry about themselves and getting their own health back, all of their focus is on the baby, causing them to neglect their own needs.
Ladies, it is important to remember that your health and well-being is vital to the families well-being. It's much easier and more enjoyable to look after your child if you are healthy and fit.
Did You Have A Vaginal Birth?
Although the act of carrying the baby can have some effect on your waterworks, the primary cause of incontinence amongst ladies who have given birth is most commonly suffered by ladies who had a natural vaginal birth. In fact, a study published in Science Daily confirms that women who delivered vaginally versus a C-Section double the risk of urinary incontinence after the birth.
Astonishingly even five years after giving birth somewhere between one-third and one-half of women report issues of incontinence. However, as mentioned above, there are a variety of different solutions that can be implemented in order to solve the problem.
The Importance Of Pelvic Floor Exercises
The primary method of treatment for stress incontinence is pelvic floor exercises. In simple terms, the muscles which control how and when you urinate, have been under a lot of pressure, both before and during the birth. They have been stretched and maybe even slightly damaged, preventing them from creating a perfect seal, as they did before the pregnancy.
The idea behind pelvic floor exercises is to strengthen those muscles, assisting them in recovering their original shape and strength. Logically speaking, the quicker the exercises are started post birth, the quicker a lady will begin to feel the benefits.
Many ladies with teenagers, suddenly get to the point in their life where they are no longer so embarrassed, or have had enough and approach their doctor for help, having suffered for over twelve years with the problem.
The point of this article as well as to educate people, and hopefully provide some reassurance, is to encourage people to seek help rather than suffering in silence.
Obviously, it will be significantly harder to regain the full strength of the pelvic floor muscles if they have been left without any targeted exercise for over 12 years. That is why it is really important to talk to your doctor and explain the situation as soon as practicable.
As well as the pelvic floor exercises that your doctor will prescribe for you here are some other easy to apply tips, to help and assist you with this all too common problem;
- Try to squeeze, lift and then hold your pelvic floor muscles if you think you are about to sneeze, blow your nose or cough.
- Cross your legs, and squeeze tightly before coughing or sneezing.
- Do not put extra stress on your body, by trying to lift excessively heavy loads. Ask someone else to help rather than risk aggravating the problem.
- In the drive to regain your pre-pregnancy figure, you need to exercise, however, steer clear of exercises that put an unnecessary strain on your pelvic floor muscles. High impact exercises, such as jogging or trampolining are best avoided at least initially.
- If you are concerned about that occasional leak use light incontinence pads in your usual underwear and no one else will know!
Should pelvic floor exercise not solve the problem, there are still a number of alternatives available that your doctor can explore with you.
Try not to let the condition get you down, and seek help and advice as quickly as possible. You can and will beat incontinence, and once you do, you can look forward to enjoying holidays and family days, without giving your urinary issues a second thought.