Whether you had a cesearean section or a vaginal delivery to bring your bundle of joy into the world, your bladder has been stressed by carrying a growing infant over the 9 months you are pregnant. There are some simple techniques that you can use to prevent lifelong pelvic organ relaxation and to reduce the risks of urinary problems now and in your future reproductive years.
- Void early and often– In the first week postpartum you will produce a lot of urine to eliminate the fluid that you may have retained during the end of your pregnancy Make sure you are emptying your bladder every 2-4 hours while you awake.
- Minimize caffeine, carbonation, citrus and artificial sweeteners which can make your bladder more irritable and less likely to efficiently empty during your voids.
- Thoroughly empty your bladder while voiding– once you have voided in the usual psition, try voiding further while leaning forward and back, or side to side. If you produce more urine in any of these positions, continue to use that position for each void to insure complete emptying of your bladder and avoid the overflow of urine when you are not trying to empty your bladder.
- Strengthen your Kegel muscles– (Start this 2-3 weeks after you have delivered) these muscles are the guardians of your urethra, the opening of the bladder to the outside world. The stronger the muscles around the urethra, the better control you will have of urine flow and continence. When you are next voiding, try to stop and start the stream of your urine.
If you are not able to do this initially after delivery, do not be concerned it takes some time to rebuild these muscles.
If you are able to stop and start your urine stream, that is the muscle contraction that we want you to emulate while performing a Kegel exercise. For best strengthening, try to squeeze these muscles for 10-15 seconds, 20-30 times per day. It is difficult to remember to do this, as there is no gym, outfit or music required for this private workout.We recommend picking the first or last feed for your newborn in the day and perform your Kegel exercise during that feed. It will soon become an easy activity that you can easily multitask while feeding. If you are leaking urine despite regular voiding, and Kegel exercises, pelvic physical therapy may be recommended.