Urinary Incontinence During Pregnancy

Updated on January 19, 2008
M.B. asks from Vernon Rockville, CT
11 answers


I'm 7 months pregnant now and all of a sudden at 6.5 months I started having urinary control problems. I leak all the time now, when I walk, laugh, move at all, etc. It's almost out of my control and now I feel like my bladder muscles are weakening because I feel like I can not empty my bladder all the way. I know that urinary leakage is normal during pregancy, but I'm soaking through about 10 maxi pads a day with urine. I talked to my dr about this and he said its normal but a little out of the ordinary with the overall amount of leakage.

I'm just looking to see if anyone else has had this problem during pregnancy. Did you go back to normal after delivery or am I doomed to a lifetime of bladder problems???

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answers from Boston on

Hi M.,
It's a drag for sure, but keep doing the kegal exercises despite the discomfort and worry about after you have the baby. I've had "female problems" for many years, most due to prolapse and pregnancy. What many women don't know is that there is help out there in the way of pelvic floor therapy. It's PT for your pelvic floor. I've had so many surgeries and problems but this has been the most helpful. You should try a urogynocologist after the pregnancy if things don't return to normal. He/She will be able to provide you with a list of therapists in your area. If you're in MA, I know there are several in Boston. I go to one in Wellesley who is fantastic.
Best of luck



answers from New York on

I am only 16 weeks along on my first pregnancy, so I can't give advice from experience. But, have you tried kegel exercises? They are supposed to help with incontinence and greatly assist during labor.


Good luck!



answers from Boston on

Hi M.,
Everybody (I think) has bladder control problems w/ pregnancy. Yours sounds greater than most I've heard (I teach Childbirth Ed classes) and honestly, for me, it was worse after delivery for the first few weeks. My best advise is to do you Pelvic Floor (Kegels) excercise ALOT. It may not feel like you are doing much, but you are(!), and it will substantially help after the baby comes(keep doing after birth too). If you don't know how to check to see if you're doing them correctly, here's how: while urinating try to stop the stream. That's the right muscle. Don't do this "test" too often as it could encourage bladder infections. Just as a check to be sure you're using the right muscles. Good luck and hold tight, you're almost there!



answers from Providence on

Just wanted to add to Nancy's advice - make sure to lean forward when you urinate (after you think you've emptyied your bladder). It's amazing how much more you will pee! The Doctor that took care of me for my first pregnancy suggested this and it has worked like a charm with four kids! And, you're not doomed, those muscles can be exercised.



answers from Boston on

Hi there,
You MD is right, it is not uncommon to lose bladder control especially since the uterus is pushing on the bladder to some degree. There are pelvic muscle exercises you can do where ever you are, I beleive they are called Keigle exercises, you tighten all the muscle down there and hold and the relax and repeat, this can help strengthen those muscle that might be contributing to leaking urine. Hope this helps.



answers from Boston on

Hi M.,

I didn't have problems during my first pregnancy, but after my first was born (3 years ago) I've had problems with incontinence. I've been seeing a Physical Therapist and things are getting better. Just know that there are resources out there than can help after your pregnancy if it doesn't go away.....also using Poise Pads are better than regular maxi pads!



answers from New London on

Hi M., my name is L.. I'm a nurse and my husband is in the military. We have one five year old boy who keeps us busy! It's normal to have leakage. Some women do more than others. Try taking some pregnancy yoga classes, doing keagle exercises, and having sex! This may seem odd, but it will prepare you for giving birth and may strengthen your bladder muscles.



answers from Richmond on

It will get better eventually after the baby is born, but you need to do your kegals religiously. I read a tip to do them every time you stop at a red light, I find ideas like that help me to remember to do them. I've had 4 children, experienced this with all but the first and it has stopped after they were born.



answers from Burlington on

I once read in a pregnancy magazine that if you lift up on your belly while urinating you can empty your bladder fully. It's worth a try! Good Luck



answers from Boston on

This must be so stressful for you! Hang in there. Did the doctor talk to you about kegels excercises? I've also heard that there is some sort of small device from Athena's home novelties that helps with kegel exercises. I know that might sound freaky, because that business is more for like, well sex toys and stuff, but I was out with some girlfriends last night and one of my friends said she got one because of this issue.
Has the doctor checked if you have a urinary tract infection? I'm a nurse, and I would make sure that this isn't the cause of your problem. I think it's so hard, especially at the end of your pregnancy, but it will get better. When you have someone taking jabs at your bladder (as I'm sure your baby is) it's not easy. I have 3 boys 2, 4, and 7 and it is especially hard at the end of your pregnancy Also, what about an incontinence pad rather than a maxi pad? It might hold more and give you a sense of security until you have the baby. Hope this helps and good luck! -N.



answers from Lewiston on

Oh, my, the memories that you have brought back for me!! My son is now 19, but I remember like it was yesterday. I had a lot of problems with HBP and puffy legs, so I was constantly drinking water. The incontinence was a daily part of life. If you are carrying lower, the baby is probably tap dancing on your bladder! I did find that going on a regular basis, whether I had the urge or not, helped a little bit. After the birth, when things are more normal, you will have a better feeling about whether there is now a continuing problem, and steps can be taken.You are in the late stages of pregnancy, your body is no longer your own. Hard to judge a symptom until after the birth of your baby. I had warts all over one hand!! I wanted them removed. My OB told me they would disappear, and sure enough, 2 weeks after my son was born, they were gone. Never had another one again. Lifting your stomach when you urinate may help empty the bladder more completely, as I saw another mention. Good luck, you are about to embark on the coolest journey you will ever take!!!

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