Prenatal Incontinence – You read the title, right?
If the title didn’t give it away, we are talking about *gasp* incontinence today.
If your gut reaction is “Nope” – thats cool, come back tomorrow , we will talk about gardening and soap making. Today though, someone might need to read this, and that’s who this is for.
Your first question is likely to be, “But, WHY?? That’s so personal and embarrassing!”
Yep. It is. But it’s also incredibly common and no one talks about it. To the point that it’s possible you don’t even realize how common it is!
Your next comment is probably, “This has nothing to do with parenting, or homesteading, home improvement… or ANYTHING. ”
Oh, but it does my friends. It does.
Before I horrify/entertain you with the reality of pregnancy and weak pelvic floors, let’s talk about the facts.
From the National Association of Continence:
“Urinary Incontinence is the most common type of incontinence to affect mothers, UI affects 30-50% of childbearing women by age 40.
Up to 63% of stress-incontinent women report their problem began during or after pregnancy.”
30-50% Is a lot of moms! The first thing to realize is that it’s not just you.
Think you are the only embarrassed mama that laughed, coughed, or puked herself into a new pair of undies? Not by a long shot.
[Warning: if you don’t want to read about pee, poop, and puke, then turn back now. More pleasant tales of wry parenthood are coming again soon.]
What follows is the very short, very real, moderately hysterical story of one of the most memorable days in my last pregnancy.
Not long ago I was pregnant. The pregnancy with my daughter was miserable. I have never been so sick, for so long, in my entire life. Nausea that was expected to dissipate around 12 to 14 weeks, persisted for most of my pregnancy.
One beautiful Saturday morning while getting out of bed much too early, it came to my attention that my toddler needed his diaper changed, STAT. (I actually can’t remember if it was Saturday, or Monday, or Thursday.)
I could smell the putrid vapors of toddler poop from his very full diapered behind wafting across the house.
It was already apparent I didn’t feel great, but as luck would have it, there was no escape from this diaper.
So, I proceeded to lay him down on our kitchen floor and carefully, cautiously open the offending poop filled diaper.
As the full brunt of the smell assailed my unprepared nasal passages, my gag reflex took over.
The situation was now in free fall. The most I could do was continue to hold my son’s legs in the air while I yelled for help between bouts of heaving.
All I wanted was a bowl.
My boys didn’t respond. So, again I yelled out through increasingly panicked nausea, “help me! ”
When someone actually did respond to my plea, I got a giant rude sounding, “WHAT DO YOU NEED, MOM?”
What did I need?
I just needed a bowl to puke in.
Also, possibly someone to care that I was dealing with poop and puke at the same time.
When the bowl finally came from my none-too-helpful children, I began to throw up in earnest, all while still holding my toddler’s legs in the air.
At this point, things got worse.
Yes, it’s possible.
I’ve been pregnant five times. After a twin pregnancy, and four basically back to back singleton pregnancies, it’s safe to assume my pelvic floor muscles are essentially non-existent. Especially with a big ol’ baby head pushing down on my bladder.
Puking with everything I had, you can guess what happened next. Thankfully, I was prepared for the pee. Experience has encouraged me to be always prepared with no less than a light day pad during pregnancy.
Sneezing, coughing and belly laughs had already proven problematic earlier in the pregnancy, and in previous pregnancies.
I was also acutely aware that I hadn’t gone to use the little ladies room yet that morning. It became increasingly crucial that the puking stop so I could take care of business. My anxiety levels skyrocketed. This had the potential to be a really crappy day.
Blessedly, that did not come to… pass.
Finally, the morning sickness let up and I was able to put my son’s clean diaper on and get off the kitchen floor.
Managing one number 1, two number 2’s, and puke is a lot for one morning. I was now spent for the day.
At the time, I knew it would be a ridiculous story that would only ever be shared when I had too many Kentucky Mules. I also knew that I couldn’t be the only one to live through this nauseated peeing myself hell. But it sure felt that way at the time.
I would love to tell you my day got better, but honestly that’s the only thing I remember about that whole week.
Mommin’ ain’t easy.
Here’s the Takeaway and Some Tips
This story, though embarrassing as heck, is pretty much motherhood in the raw.
(I’m sorry if I TMI’d you and you are never coming back. Please come back, I promise not to talk about incontinence again.)
We ladies go through a lot to have these little people come into the world, and our bodies are never, ever the same again.
The good news is that urinary incontinence and weak pelvic floors can be treated, at home!
One of my least favorite words in the English language is coming next-
Kegel Exercises are those fun little contractions that help build your pelvic floor muscles. Check out this link from the NAFC for more information!
There’s a reason that your obstetrician or midwife may have mentioned practicing them, and not just to make you feel weird.
(Kegel exercises are weird, I’ll just say it. Any exercise you can do while having tea with your best friend is just weird. Super weird.)
Need help remembering to do them? You’ll never guess what else I found on the NAFC!
There’s an app for that!
It’s called Kegel Aerobics.
What could possibly be better than an app to encourage you to exercise your nether-Yaya?!
By the way, this app applies to all women, not just the pregnant and postpartum variety.
So with that being said…
We have covered U.I. and kegel exercises, and an incredibly embarrassing, but kind of awesome life story, it’s probably time to wrap this one up.
I hope that if this is you, you feel a little less embarrassed and lot more normal. Most importantly, you’re not alone. Leaky lady friends are all around you!
Please check out the NAFC website, they have a ton of great information.