After having your baby, it will take time for you to regain bladder control, even if you are getting professional help and support. Your treatment will depend on the particular type of incontinence you have and times vary for recovery. Your medical history as well as information about your pregnancy and baby’s birth will all help to individualise your treatment.
Building strength in your pelvic floor may take several months, so it will pay to be patient and not feel frustrated. Give your body time to rest, heal, recover and become strong again after pregnancy and childbirth.
Remember that for most women, bladder control issues improve within the first six months after their baby’s birth.
Your pregnancy and baby’s birth may be the causes for weakening of your pelvic floor. There is generally a window of time between starting a program to improve bladder function and feeling its effects. And just like making any other health changes, the benefits are not immediately obvious.
Make the time to sit on the toilet and completely empty your bladder. Sit on the toilet with your feet flat on the floor, rest your elbows on your knees and lean forward as if you are reading something on the floor. This position will help your bladder to fully empty.
After going to the toilet, make sure you wipe the right way. Wipe from front to back and be gentle. Use enough toilet paper so your fingernails don’t come into contact with your vulva or urethra. Urinary tract infections can be caused from bacteria in the bowel finding their way up the urethra and causing contamination.
Avoid drinking coffee, tea and energy drinks as well as cutting back on chocolate if you’re experiencing bladder control issues. Caffeine can be a bladder irritant and increase the sensation of needing to go and wee.
Think about how much fluid you’re drinking each day. According to the National Kidney Foundation eight glasses of water each day is ideal, but not everyone needs this amount. Use the colour of your wee to guide you on how well hydrated you are. Healthy kidneys produce around 1.5 litres (six cups) of wee each day.
Avoid straining and pushing down when you’re weeing or pooing. Extra pressure on your bladder and bowel will cause further stretching and strain on your pelvic floor muscles. Sitting for long periods can do the same thing, so avoid sitting and reading on the toilet or checking your phone. Go, do what you need to and then leave.
Written for Poise by Jane Barry, midwife and child health nurse 03/06/2021
Whilst you are training your pelvic floor POISE can help keep you comfortable and dry and protected from leaks.
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