... A woman who has had one vaginal birth is more than two and a half times as likely to report stress urinary incontinence. Even during a first pregnancy, 50 percent of women experience problems with bladder control, especially during the third trimester. These problems often become more pronounced with each successive pregnancy.
The urinary system may change during pregnancy in ways that affect urinary control in some women. Trauma (injury) during and after delivery from stretching or compression of the pelvic floor muscles can cause damage to the pudendal and pelvic nerves that serve the pelvis, uterus and bladder. Depending on the size and weight of the baby and length of labor, damage occurs to the soft tissue of the muscle and nerves and may cause tears in ligaments that support the urethra and bladder muscles. In addition, episiotomies, anesthesia and the use of forceps all may cause urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence that begins after delivery usually stops in the next 3-6 months, but it may persist and return after additional pregnancies. Women often report difficulty with contracting their pelvic floor muscles after childbirth which is exactly why a program of pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels) should begin early in pregnancy and continue after delivery until any incontinence issues improve. ...
If you aren't doing Kegels during pregnancy or after delivery, discuss them with your health care provider. ...
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