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Cynthia FlynnWeak Bladder
by Cynthia Flynn, CNM, Ph.D.

Q. I am 18 weeks pregnant, and I am having a really hard time with incontinence. This is my third pregnancy and if I cough or sneeze or even if I'm just sitting, my bladder leaks. Will this continue after the baby is born? I have started wearing pads because it happens so much. Can too much mean my bladder has fallen or some other problem?

A. It's really important that you get really good at doing Kegels, and may even need power Kegels. There are also plastic devices available now to help you do them. But you're right, if you do not get this problem solved, you may be looking at surgery down the road. You should be doing your exercises morning and night EVERY day.

You might have the strength of your Kegels checked (there is a little gizmo they can put inside to actually check this) to make sure you're doing the Kegels the best way. If you are really doing them correctly already and your vaginal muscles are strong, then you might want to seriously consider surgery after the pregnancy.

Q. I am 14.2 weeks pregnant and have been occasionally leaking urine especially when I cough.

A.Time for kegel exercises! If you don't know how to do the exercises, try stopping the urine when you use the bathroom. Those are the muscles that need to be exercised. I suggest 25 "squeezes" in the morning and another 25 at night. There are variations that will increase the strength of those muscles even more--talk to your midwife about "power kegels" if the regular ones don't work.

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