pregnancy incontinence tips

Pregnancy should be an enjoyable time but it comes with challenges. Incontinence during pregnancy is common, with many women relying on incontinence pads to manage the problem.

But why is incontinence an issue? Is there anything that can be done to alleviate the symptoms? HARTMANN Direct give us the answers.

What types of incontinence are experienced during and after pregnancy?
Stress incontinence is one type of incontinence that pregnant women can experience. This means that accidental leaks of urine happen because of increased pressure on the bladder.
As the baby grows, more weight and pressure is placed on your bladder which can make controlling it more difficult. For example, coughing or sneezing places a quick and sudden pressure on the bladder, leading to a sudden and unexpected leak of urine.

Incontinence during pregnancy can also be a result of an overactive bladder. This means that you may feel the urge to urinate more often than usual. The bladder muscle may be in spasm and the muscles surrounding the urethra, the tube through which the urine passes, can also be affected.
In this case, the muscles prevent the urine leaving the bladder but are overridden by a strong bladder muscle contraction. Unfortunately, this happens at inopportune moments leading to leaks of urine.
Surging hormones in pregnancy, especially early and late pregnancy as your body prepares for the birth also have an effect on the pelvic floor muscles and the bladder.

Does incontinence go away after pregnancy?
Many women face no difficulties with incontinence after giving birth but for others, it can be a continuing issue.
The good news is that dealing successfully with incontinence is possible, through a combination of exercises and lifestyle changes. It is not a problem that you ‘have to live with’ and neither is it an inevitable part of motherhood.
Giving birth vaginally or by caesarean section can lead to problems with the bladder and pelvic floor muscles. It can damage the muscles, although there are other conditions that can result too, such as;

  • Damage to the bladder nerves
  •  The bladder and urethra may have moved during pregnancy
  •  An episiotomy, a small cut to the pelvic floor muscle to allow the baby to pass through more easily may also lead to incontinence problems

How to manage pregnancy incontinence
Being incontinent when you are pregnant is not a welcome or comfortable thought. But there are some small changes you can make to help in managing it easier;

  •  Incontinence pads – most pregnant women experience a small leak of urine every now and then. No matter whether you are suffering from stress incontinence or have the urge to urinate come on quickly and urgently – or both – incontinence pads can help to prevent ‘embarrassing leaks and accidents’.
    Incontinence pads are made with urine in mind and will absorb both the wetness and the smell too. Sanitary ware is not designed for urine, thus the wetness can remain on top of the pad and can contribute to soreness. Incontinence pads are affordable and discreet.
  •  Drink plenty but over longer – decreasing the amount you drink is not the answer as this leads to urine becoming more concentrated, leading to the bladder being even more irritated. Instead of drinking drinks ‘all at once’, spread out drinking water over the course of the day, tailoring off your consumption of drinks later in the day to make for a more comfortable night’s sleep.
  •  Decrease caffeine and fizzy drinks – there are some foods and drinks that can make incontinence worse and caffeine in tea, coffee, hot chocolate and some fizzy drinks is one of them. Cut down on these drinks or stop them all together.
  •  Watch what you eat – foods that are acidic, such as tomatoes, lemons, limes, vinegar based salad dressings and so on can also irritate the bladder. Spicy foods can also impact on the body, producing more urine leading to increase incidence of incontinence.
  •  Gentle exercise helps too – clearly, pregnancy is not the time to start a new, high-impact exercise regime but there is nothing stopping you from taking gentle exercise. Yoga and Pilates, along with swimming, allow you to exercise without placing stress on your joints.
  •  Pelvic floor exercises – these exercises are safe to perform during pregnancy and after the birth too. These clench and release exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and not only help to control your bladder but are useful during the birth. They are also great for helping you heal once you have had your baby.
    Incontinence during pregnancy can be managed by using pads, as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle and exercise.

HARTMANN Direct have incontinence pads in a range of absorbencies ideal for use during pregnancy. Discreet and effective, they make managing pregnancy incontinence much easier.

 

*This post was written in collaboration with Hartmann Direct.

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13 weeks pregnant and scan photos

Yesterday was a rather exciting day; Matt and I went to meet baby number four at our 12 week scan.

We did go for a scan a few weeks back when we thought I was 12 weeks pregnant but it turned out baby was measuring nearer 11 weeks and therefore too small to measure. The previous scan lasted just a few moments so I was excited to see a more fully formed baby and know everything was developing as it should be. We had also opted for the nuchal screening test for Down’s Syndrome.  I wrote a post about Down’s Syndrome screening during my pregnancy with Elsie – you can read it here.

The hospital was very quiet, there wasn’t another soul to be seen in the antenatal clinic.  It wasn’t long before we were called through.  I made myself comfortable on the bed and before we knew it baby was bouncing around on the monitor in front of us. I know it sounds a bit cliche but I’m sure baby was waving at us! It’s arms and legs were kicking around and its heart fluttering away nicely. It always astounds me that it’s only taken three months for baby to grow from the size of a poppy seed to the size of a pea pod – that’s some growth spurt. No wonder I’ve been tired.

The Sonographer measured the fluid in the neck and although she wouldn’t give any indication of what her measurements implied I was later told by a maternity care assistant that any number below 3.5mm is a good indication that baby will be at low risk of having Down’s Syndrome.

The scan was soon over and everything looked perfect. They actually dated me at 13 weeks exactly and so my new due date is 18th July 2017. We got some beautiful photos of baby stretched out relaxing and using my placenta as a cushion. Thankfully my placenta is posterior this time meaning I should be able to feel baby’s moments sometime in the next 3-6 weeks. My anterior placenta with Elsie meant I didn’t feel any movement until around the 22 week mark. A little disconcerting.

Following the scan I gave what felt like litres of blood to test for further chromosomal abnormalities and to measure my TSH levels as I’m on Thyroxine. Fingers crossed everything comes back normal.

Just as a bit of fun – does anyone want to have a guess at the gender based on the scan photo? I have a hunch, based on mothers intuition I guess, but I’d love to hear what you all think too!

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So I haven’t officially mentioned on my blog but…I’M PREGNANT!

Baby number four is due in July 2017 and, now I’m over the shock, I’m getting quite excited by it all! This week I’ve hit double digits – I’m ten weeks pregnant. One quarter of the way through my pregnancy already.  We have our twelve week scan in two weeks time and we have opted for the nuchal translucency testing to detect the risk of baby having Downs Syndrome.

This week we had our first midwife appointment and it was so surreal to open the front door to the lady I’d met with six months when I brought Elsie home from hospital. We chatted through my pregnancy booking form, general health and plans for birth. I expressed concerns over the speed of Elsie’s labour and getting to hospital in time and she suggested we bring some medical essentials to the house nearer the time incase I feel I we don’t have time to get there. Our local hospital is probably a 15 minute drive on a VERY quiet evening drive but on a Saturday lunchtime it would be around a 40 minute trip.  I now have my Bounty pack and maternity notes so it all feels pretty official. Oh and they’ve jazzed up the Bounty wallets too but it would appear lessened the quality, if that’s possible!

I took my first bump shot today and I’m definitely showing! Although, at six months post partum, I am still carrying some baby weight from Elsie which made it hard to tell at first whether it was just chubbiness or actually the start of a baby bump! I think you can definitely see the beginnings of a bump although when I sit down it disappears into the rolls!

I’m not going to do weekly updates as I just can’t commit to it with Elsie but I will say that I haven’t been feeling the best. Afternoon nausea and some kind of weird pain in my very lower back that feels like a trapped nerve.

You can read my 10-12 week update from Elsie’s pregnancy here.

ten weeks pregnant

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I can honestly say that I didn’t think I’d be writing my 39 week pregnancy update. Since week 37/38 I’ve been experiencing, what I’d say were, the early signs of labour. So symptoms such as back ache, mood swings, increased discharge/slow loss of plug, feeling restless and extra hungry. Yet, here I am, 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant! I’m more pregnant than I was with Florence as she arrived at 39+2.

So to say I feel fed up is a bit of an understatement. It feels like I’m constantly waiting for something; like a train or appointment that never materialises. I’m being a bit of a drama queen  as I haven’t even reached my due date yet BUT I do have a reason.

I see my son, Logan, for two weekends in every three and last weekend was the third week where he spent time with his dad. This weekend coming will be the first time I’ve seen him in about 12 days so, it’s inevitable that baby girl is going to arrive just at the time when I’m due to collect Logan. It’s so hard trying to share yourself around as a parent, even more so when one of your kids lives and goes to school in a different county. I’m not expecting a massively long labour so today or tomorrow would be just fine but if not baby, please can you hold on until Monday when Logan has been safely delivered back to his dad’s house??

I’ve been sleeping pretty well, considering. I’m taking paracetamol before bed as the pain in my pelvis to turn over in the night is quite unbearable. Toilet stops seem to be around every two hours; 11:30pm, 1:30am, 3:30am and 5:00am. Talk about prepping me for life with a baby! Although I curse having to get up and go at least I can go straight back to bed. In a week or two I shall be sat up staring at my daughter as she feeds and feeling like an extra from The Walkind Dead.

I’m almost certain my plug is coming away in small parts and I don’t really expect to see anything larger. It’s very similar to what happened with Florence but I’d already seen some streaks of blood by now which indicated that labour was close. None of that this time, not yet anyway. I’ve honestly never been so interested in what I wipe away after each trip to the lav!

I’ve also been experiencing more contractions. Not just Braxton Hicks but proper contractions. I do still get the BH, which are painless and my tummy goes rock hard, but I also get a slow tightening in my back followed by crampy pain in my lower belly which lasts around 30-40 seconds. These, to me, feel like the early stages of labour and as soon as I feel one I wish another to come soon after. But no such luck. Whilst we’re talking about my belly – it’s definitely dropped further since last week when the midwife said I was 3/5th engaged….just look at that flat area above the bump…..that never used to be there!

39wksbelly

I’ve been encouraging labour in every way you can think of; pineapple, raspberry leaf tea, bouncing on my birth ball, an extremely hot curry and yes; we even did the deed which got us in this mess! Seems baby girl is going to be a stubborn mule and keep us waiting until she is absolutely ready. I’m hoping this will make for a smoother and quicker deliver!

If you missed my 38 week update you can catch up here.  I’m hoping the next post I write will be introducing baby girl! Fingers crossed, legs uncrossed!!

39 weeks pregnant, bump, bump shot

39wks nude

 

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I know I say it every week but wow – I’ve reached my 38 week pregnancy update! I can’t quite believe it. When I imagine my birth I feel quite emotional. Those moments following delivery where you don’t have the energy to speak and you just stare into those little dark eyes are what I’ve been dreaming of since March 2014.  It’s within touching distance. Actually it could be sooner than I think as this week has been quite eventful!

On Sunday I woke up with, what can only be described as, crippling pain just above my belly button. I called triage as something just didn’t seem right. As suspected I was advised to take paracetamol and rest for an hour.  I did and the pain lessened.  I called back and they suggested it was just torn/damaged ligaments in my stomach and perhaps the baby was lying in an awkward position which aggravated it.  I took some codeine which I had been prescribed for migraines and that did the trick; I haven’t felt the pain since.

Today, Tuesday 10th May, I had my 38 week midwife appointment.  It wasn’t my usual midwife which always makes me nervous but she was so lovely it actually made me wish she was my usual midwife! I told her about my pains and how I had been a little swollen in the heat and how today, particularly, I’d experienced back pain, discharge and general discomfort.  I forgot to tell her how my body had seemed to have a little clear out the night before too. The midwife said it all sounded promising and took my blood pressure.  It’s been steady for weeks but it was now elevated to 140/94. Once again the midwife said it might be the start of labour as my body starts working a little harder.  I really need to relax and keep my blood pressure low as I won’t be allowed to birth at the midwife led unit if it creeps too high.

After having a feel of my tummy and a listen to the baby the appointment was over.  I always love getting out to the car and having a read through my notes.  I saw the baby’s heartbeat was only 128bpm which alarmed me a little as it hasn’t been less than 140bpm throughout the pregnancy.  She did say during the appointment she thought baby must be asleep so I guess if she’s not worried I shouldn’t be either! Most excitingly of all the baby is engaged! I know this could change as it’s not my first baby and the head could easily pop back out but my notes suggest the baby is 2/5 engaged and todays symptoms seem to reflect that.

It’s difficult not to get too excited after 38 weeks of waiting.

The following day I had back ache all day again and got my hopes up that I was in early labour after reading an NHS leaflet about the initial stages of labour.  You’d think after two kids I’d have some idea wouldn’t you?  Anyway, today (Thursday 38+4) I feel fed up and emotional.  I almost cried for no apparent reason when Florence gave me a hug this morning. There were workmen blocking the end of our cul-de-sac (how dare they) and I’m walking like I’ve got a bowling ball in my rectum.  I know – I’m irrational and irritating. After I’ve finished up this post and tidying the house it will be time to pick Florence up from school.  I am going to bite the bullet and waddle down to the park with her, lets hope it gets things going.

If you missed my 37 week update you can read it here and you can also read my birth plan here.

38 weeks pregnancy update

 

38 weeks pregnancy bump

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