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Urinary incontinence after having kids

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
How common is this really? To always feel like you have to pee or to accidentally pee yourself (often, like every day) after youve had a few babies? My mil is *constantly* bringing this up, telling me to just wait until I've had a few more kids (Im about to have my second one now) and I will have urinary incontinence for the rest of my days She even says it in front of my husband which is embarrassing and irritating!

My mom had 3 kids and she does not have any such problems but she is also within a reasonable weight and has stayed fairly fit. My mil has this problem (also 3 kids) but she is very overweight, sedentary, and drinks caffeinated sodas everyday.

So how often does this really happen and is it really more about your postpartum lifestyle? It seems to me that maintaining a good level of fitness and avoiding unhealthy diet choices would be all most women need to avoid urinary incontinence... Your thoughts?
post #2 of 23
One mom I know had problems with this, but she was a runner. Not sure if that has anything to do with it or not.
post #3 of 23
Well, I have it. My mom had it too. At least for me I feel that it is a physical problem, not based on diet and lifestyle. I am overweight, but certainly not obese. I eat well and rarely drink caffeine. I have birthed 6 babies already, one was a set of twins, and I'm 18 weeks pregnant. I plan on getting it corrected surgically after this pregnancy (my last). Like anything, there are risk factors that can make it worse, but it's just luck of the draw to me. You may or may not get it. Not everyone does, but I don't think its uncommon either. It's embarrassing, and I think people just don't like to talk about it.
post #4 of 23
Well, I have to say that the first couple of weeks after my first I had a few close calls, but it didn't last long. Now, after two kids, I do have to cross my legs when I sneeeze (when I have a full bladder), but that's about it.
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vancouver Mommy View Post
Well, I have to say that the first couple of weeks after my first I had a few close calls, but it didn't last long. Now, after two kids, I do have to cross my legs when I sneeeze (when I have a full bladder), but that's about it.
Yup, same here.

But I know that doing your Kegels will help. A lot. Like, they pretty much can take care of the problem completely if you're diligent about it, and you don't have a problem like a prolapsed uterus laying on your bladder. My problem is just remembering to do them consistently.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenbeanmama View Post
Yup, same here.

But I know that doing your Kegels will help. A lot. Like, they pretty much can take care of the problem completely if you're diligent about it, and you don't have a problem like a prolapsed uterus laying on your bladder. My problem is just remembering to do them consistently.
Cosign.

I even have a bit of prolapsed bladder, prolapsed uterus AND prolapsed rectum, and have birthed two (after one C-section). It was so bad after my first vbac that I almost regretted my Vbac! (ALMOST...) I was told by my physical therapist that simply doing the kegals and other pelvic floor exercises she prescribed would help and I totally didn't believe her. I mean, I was leaking just walking up a set of stairs with a half-full bladder...it was REALLY bad, plus my mother had two babies and told me that she has had this problem for her entire life after kids and that "no exercises will fix it".

After a couple weeks of doing the exercises "when I remember" I realised I had much more control. A month after I started doing them regularly I could stop peeing mid-steam if I tried. A year after that there was almost no difference from before my Vbac.

Just had my second Vbac in January and have been doing my kegal sets RELIGIOUSLY since then. I didn't start out as bad this time, but I still had some major issues that are now virtually gone. I even passed the sneeze test the other day

FWIW my mother never really sticks with any type of exercise program, so even though she says she "tried kegels" 28 years ago, I am dubious of that claim. She is overweight, but so am I. There probably are people who are biologically predestined to have this issue forever after childbirth no matter what, but I don't think that type of situation is as common as it seems. I learned the proper exercises from a physical therapist, but I really get the impression that women in the past were just told to "suck it up" because it's part of childbirth which lead to older moms and grandmoms passing on the notion that it's some kind of inevitable and incurable war-wound of motherhood.
post #7 of 23
Do your kegels every time you're at a stoplight! (Only works if you drive, of course....)

There are also other exercises, medications and, as mentioned above, surgery. Do not NOT not think this is something that, if it happens to you, you need to just accept for the rest of your life. That's just bs given out by your MIL and the Depends folks.

Happy pregnancy!
post #8 of 23
Kegels!


I had it this time pp (4th baby) but now, 8 months pp, its gone.

Kegels!
post #9 of 23
My sister's dear friend is a urologist, and she says it's incredibly common. She also says it's a shame that so many women suffer with it, because there are things that can be done to help... though, she's coming from a conventional medicine perspective, so I don't know what type of "things" she means.
post #10 of 23
I was very surprised to find that my "stress incontinence" was related to my severe hormone imbalance (low progesterone).
post #11 of 23
I have this just a tiny bit, I'm 34 wks preg with #3. However, kegels help even right now. If I feel a sneeze coming on, I'll "squeeze" while I sneeze, and there's no issue. I don't anticipate any problems after the birth either, but who knows. I think weight and lifestyle play a large role in this, and remember that it is possible to do the kegel wrong. The easiest way to know if you're doing it the "right" way is to stick a few fingers in there while you're squeezing. If you feel movement (esp. a squeeze) then you have the right muscle group. If you don't, then try squeezing other muscles until you find the right one (any squeezing in your vagina would be the right one). Once you're a little stronger, this is very fun during sex.

We also have to remember that birth trauma (like what can happen while pushing on your back, having an episiotomy or having the babe delivered via forceps) can significantly alter vaginal strength, and these birthing conditions were more common among older generations of women.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrunchyGranolaMom View Post
Do your kegels every time you're at a stoplight! (Only works if you drive, of course....)

There are also other exercises, medications and, as mentioned above, surgery. Do not NOT not think this is something that, if it happens to you, you need to just accept for the rest of your life. That's just bs given out by your MIL and the Depends folks.

Happy pregnancy!
Yep! That's what another online group I belonged to came up with! I told that to my baby yoga class a while ago and we started laughing because we were thinking it would be funny to see women everywhere at stop lights looking like they are really concentrating!

PS they really do work!
post #13 of 23
I have stress incontinence due to pregnancy and birth trauma. I am very fit, thin and eat healthy. I'm a big runner, so it really sucks that I pee myself while running. I saw a urologist, but no thank you. I don't want surgery or something else that is only a temporary solution.
I got really sick of people telling me to do kegels. Yeah, if I could even DO a kegel. That's how weak the muscle is. I guess it's strong enough that I don't leak unless I'm jumping, running or something similar, but I seriously can barely do a kegel.
I was about to just give up until I did more research and found that pelvic floor exercisers that use electronic signals were another solution. Big surprise, when I looked it up to find one, I found that they are only available in the US by prescription. But in the UK, you can order one, so I ordered the Kegel8. This thing is expensive and the shipping was high, but I'm so desparate at this point. I've been using it for about 3 weeks and haven't really noticed a difference yet, but I know it can take 10 weeks to start seeing results.
post #14 of 23
I am small, thin, and had stress incontinence after DS (my largest baby and #3). It didn't go away with Kegels either. He is one now and just now I finally do not pee myself every time I run but with a sneeze or cough I will.
post #15 of 23
I think short-term stress incontenence is common (and, contrary to popular wisdom, c-sections do not necessarily prevent it - I only had it once, but it was after dd2 - scheduled c-section, with only a handful of contractions, starting less than an hour before surgery!). Longer term? It does happen, of course. However, I do think a lot of it could be prevented/lessened by avoiding coached pushing and by doing kegels.

Honestly...I think I may end up with problems. Since my third, I've had serious issues with pelvic numbness, and they're worst in the bladder. This has caused two things to happen, both of which I feel increase my odds of incontinence later in life. The first is that I often go way too long before going pee, because I really can't tell when my bladder is getting full (when it's really full, I can tell, but in a very indirect way - it's not bladder sensation as I used to have it). The second is that I have a huge amount of difficulty performing kegels properly. I just can't feel the area well enough to tell.

Anyway...your MIL is wrong. I've noticed a lot of people assume that their experience with something is going to be what other people experience, too. It just doesn't work that way. You may have problems with incontinence, but you may not. If you do, they may last for a very short time, or they may last for a longer time. There's really no way to know in advance.
post #16 of 23
Sorry - didn't realize you were talking specifically about long-term incontinence.

My sister has four kids (3 vaginal, 1 c-section) - no incontinence.
My SIL has four kids (all vaginal) - no incontinence.
My cousins each have three kids (all vaginal) - no incontinence.
My mom has three kids (all c-sections), and is 66 - no incontinence.
My aunts each have three kids (all vaginal), and are in their 60s - no incontinence.

This is really not universal - not even close. I'm the only one in the family who has had any trouble at all, and mine was very short-lived, and only after my fifth child (if it makes any difference, 3 of them were over 10lbs, and the last one was 9lb.15oz.). I may have trouble again in the future, but that's because of the surgical nerve damage, not the pregnancies.
post #17 of 23
post #18 of 23
Tell your MIL to get off her butt and work it.

And none of the mamas I know have mentioned anything of the sort and I've talked with them about constipation and weird mucous in their vaginas.
post #19 of 23
This blog post just showed up on my fb feed. Very interesting information about pelvic floor dysfunction.
post #20 of 23
Pelvic floor problems are pretty common after having children. Kegels should help but if you have problems figuring those out one could try getting pelvic floor therapy.
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