Pregnancy is hard on the body and especially on the pelvic floor. The pressure on the pelvic floor and bladder increases due to the extra weight you carry when you are pregnant. The muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor will be stretched after giving birth, and in the first days postpartum, you may experience urine leakage when you make an effort. It is simply common to leak pee after childbirth, but it usually disappears after a while. It normally takes a couple of months for the muscles and ligaments in your pelvic floor to contract, become strong and return to their pre-pregnancy position. Try not to rush it!
It is a good idea to go for your postpartum checkup. The checkup gives you and the midwife or Ob-Gyn a full picture of your physical, mental, and emotional health. It should include a physical exam, including a pelvic floor assessment, to make sure you’re healing well from the birth. You will be asked if you have any problems with urine leakage and they can also check your ability to squeeze those pelvic floor muscles. They can also give you tips and advice on how to do pelvic floor exercises.
Urinary leakage usually disappears gradually once you have regained the strength of your pelvic floor. Be patient and don't give up. If it still persists, it is important that you seek help. You may be squeezing in the wrong way and need guidance or other help. Contact your midwife or a health centre for help.
Postpartum bleeding or urine leakage?
Postpartum bleeding occurs after childbirth, when the uterus contracts and the wound where the placenta was located starts to heal. The discharge can last 6-8 weeks, and initially, it is red-coloured blood. As the discharge begins to decrease, it becomes more reddish-brown, similar to when your period is ending!
If you notice that you start to bleed more, or you experience stomach pains, you need to contact your healthcare provider.
Immediately after delivery, it can be more difficult to tell if it's discharge or discharge mixed with urine. But as time goes on, the amount should decrease quite quickly and less should end up in your knickers. Urine leakage is as thin as water, and if you use panty liners or pads, it can sometimes be slightly yellow in colour.
If your pelvic floor exercises have not had any effect after 3 months of daily training, you should contact the healthcare. Sometimes you may need longer and more specific training, sometimes it may be a birth injury that requires further assistance. You can contact your midwife, or a pelvic floor physiotherapist.
Post Partum exercise
In the first few months after giving birth, it's good to focus on pelvic floor exercises and breathing exercises and take long walks.
When you feel your body is ready, you can slowly start exercising, such as running. If you start running, take it slow and preferably start with shorter runs uphill. In the beginning, it can be good to walk downhill to avoid unnecessary strain on your pelvic floor.
The duration of urine leakage after giving birth varies. It is important that you take your time and don’t rush, and take a step back if it hurts or doesn't feel good. Avoid jumping and bouncing until you have trained your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. Returning to your pre-pregnancy weight within 6 months of giving birth has also been shown to reduce the risk of urinary leakage after pregnancy.
Running and other high-impact sports, such as CrossFit, put a lot of stress on your abdomen and pelvic floor. Therefore, you may experience urine leakage when you start exercising again. Continue with your pelvic floor exercises, and if it doesn't improve, make an appointment with your midwife.