Urinary incontinence after pregnancy is not at all uncommon. Urinary incontinence is defined as any leakage of urine or loss of bladder control. It can range from the occasional leakage of urine when you cough or sneeze to being unable to reach a toilet in time for elimination. If you are experiencing incontinence up to six months after delivery, there is no need to be embarrassed, as 70% of women report some instances of leakage during or after their pregnancy. While it is difficult to prevent, studies have been conducted to determine whether or not the method of delivery has anything to do with the likelihood of postpartum incontinence. According to the results of a recent study, the method of delivery you choose has absolutely nothing to do with your incontinence postpartum. In other words, whether you deliver vaginally or with a cesarean section, you will have the same likelihood of the loss of your bladder control postpartum. There was, however a strong association with postpartum incontinence in women who experienced incontinence during their pregnancy, especially in women who had incontinence at week thirty. So, if you are struggling with a lack of bladder control in the time that you are bearing your child, there is a good chance you will not regain control right after delivery. The study also explored other factors, such as sex of the baby and duration of birth. Neither of these variables had any bearing on the likelihood of postpartum incontinence. For those experiencing urinary incontinence postpartum, there are some ways to ease the symptoms, such as wearing a sanitary pad and going to the bathroom often, even when you don’t feel like you need to relieve yourself. Cutting down on caffeine might also help you regain control over your bladder, and Kegel exercises after delivery will help strengthen the pelvic muscles and could give you more control. If you are experiencing a burning sensation or pain during urination, contact your medical provider, as the incontinence could be caused by a bladder infection. If you are currently pregnant and experiencing some incontinence, there is a very good chance you will continue to be incontinent up to six months after your delivery. While this is inconvenient, there is no need to be ashamed, as it happens to many women. Additionally, the method with which you deliver your baby will not affect the likelihood of your incontinence.

Source: Wesnes, S., Hunskaar, S., Bo, K. and Rortveit, G. (2009), The effect of urinary incontinence status during pregnancy and delivery mode on incontinence postpartum. A cohort study. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 116: 700–707

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