Is urinary incontinence normal during pregnancy?
Yes. Due to the growing baby and increasing pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, pregnancy is the first time women may experience a loss of good bladder or bowel control. Unfortunately it is often made worse if there has been a previous bladder or bowel problem such as constipation or irritable bowel syndrome. Coughing and obesity can also worsen pregnancy incontinence.
What about urinary and bowel incontinence after childbirth?
Certain factors surrounding childbirth can make a women more likely to have incontinence (bladder or bowel problems), or pelvic floor pain. These can include
- Having your first baby
- Having a baby weighing over four kilograms
- Having a long second stage of labour
- Having a difficult vaginal birth with pelvic floor stitches, episiotomy, forceps or vacuum cap usage
Most bladder and bowel control problems will resolve themselves six months after childbirth if you perform regular pelvic floor exercises. Likewise for other pelvic floor problems such as sexual pain, sensitivity and pelvic pain.
However, this may not be the case for all new mums. If there is a lot of pelvic pain, and bladder and bowel control does not start to improve after six months of having a baby, call and book an appointment with our Women’s Health physiotherapist Amy.
How is The FITMUMs Program different in treating incontinence and pelvic floor problems after childbirth?
Our women’s health physiotherapist Amy is passionate about providing the best possible care for women suffering from urinary or bowel incontinence. Whether they have had a recent baby or not. She will a perform caring, sensitive and thorough assessment, and your treatment and recovery is her focus.
Amy understands every woman is different.
Our women’s health physiotherapy assessment will always involve an internal vaginal examination. This, along with extensive questioning about your pelvic floor function and habits allow for the best diagnosis and management. The internal examination will also allow for Amy to properly assess any weakness, spasm or change to your pelvic floor muscles and vaginal structure.
Your pelvic floor training and treatment will now target exactly your trouble spots. Remember every woman’s management of their incontinence will be different, and this is our difference.
What should I expect?
You do not need a referral to see our women’s health physiotherapists, but you may be referred by your GP or gynaecologist. After speaking with you over the phone about your pelvic floor problem, we will book you an hour long assessment.
The assessment will involve taking a very detailed history about your pregnancy and birth, pelvic floor habits, from bladder and bowel control, to sex, to lower back and pelvic pain. The internal vaginal examination will follow and a management plan decided together with you.
Treatments after this time will be different for each woman, but may involve a weekly or fortnightly treatment session to teach you exercises (some to strengthen and others to relax) and educate you on safe pelvic floor habits.