Pregnancy is hard on a woman’s body, and this is most apparent during the third trimester. During this time, space becomes at a premium, and your little blessing is pushing all of your nearby organs out of her way — including your bladder. In addition, hormones and the increased amount of fluids your body needs while pregnant all combine to put a lot of pressure on your bladder.
Your bladder sits right in front of and slightly above your uterus. This balloon-shaped organ stores urine until it is ready to be released. Muscles under your bladder contract and relax to let the urine flow. Weak muscles and stress on your bladder can allow urine to leak out occasionally, especially when you sneeze, cough or laugh.
Pregnant women need a lot of fluids. Not only does your blood volume greatly increase when you are pregnant, but your body also needs to make amniotic fluid for your baby, and your kidneys need extra fluid to flush out your baby’s waste materials, according to the March of Dimes. For this reason, expectant mothers are encouraged to drink a lot of water and other fluids. In fact, hormones produced during pregnancy make a pregnant woman feel thirstier than normal for these very reasons. The increase of fluid can put pressure on your bladder. In addition, as your uterus expands, it squeezes your bladder, compressing it. This combination of factors can often lead to urine leakage.
It is important for pregnant women to urinate as frequently as possible. In addition, you should do Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles around your bladder and urethra. This can greatly cut down on bladder leakage, according to the March of Dimes. To do a Kegel, contract the muscles as if you are stopping the flow of urine. Do this five times a day, repeating the contractions five to 10 times, and holding the contraction for 10 seconds.
Urinary tract infections can be a result of bladder leakage. Your bladder loses muscle tone when you are pregnant. This sometimes allows urine not only to leak out, but also leak back up toward your kidneys. This can allow bacteria to develop in your urinary tract. If you experience pain on urination, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Bladder leakage almost always occurs in the third trimester, but it can also continue after your baby is born. This is because the muscles surrounding your urethra have been weakened by the weight of the uterus and the process of giving birth. In a few women, this may become a permanent condition, but in most women, bladder leakage subsides after a few months.