If you’re carrying, or have recently had a child, there’s a chance you may experience pregnancy related incontinence. The weight of a baby and the stress of labour both contribute to a weak pelvic floor. Many women experience symptoms such as:
- Leaking urine when coughing, sneezing, lifting, laughing or exercising
- Inability to control passing wind
- An urgent need to empty the bladder or bowel
- A leaky bowel motion after going to the toilet
- Difficulty passing a bowel motion
- The feeling of a lump or dragging sensation in the vagina (this may indicate a prolapse)
Urine or amniotic fluid?
It may be difficult to tell the difference between stress incontinence and leakage of amniotic fluid (your ’waters’) during your last few weeks of pregnancy.
When your waters break, amniotic fluids leak from your vagina — it may be a gush or just a trickle. Even though you’re probably moving slowly and carefully, amniotic fluid usually leaks out when you stand after being lying or sitting for a long time and unable to control it. Amniotic fluid doesn’t usually smell and is usually colourless (although it may contain specks of mucus or blood).
Urine, however, tends to leak when you cough, laugh, sneeze or move suddenly, even if you’re lying down. It can be clear, or straw coloured but usually has a distinctive odour.
If you think you’re leaking amniotic fluid, or your fluid has meconium in it (generally a dark green), contact your midwife, doctor or labour ward immediately.
How can I manage incontinence?
Poise has a range of discreet and comfortable Liners and Pads that can help with light bladder leakage and pregnancy incontinence.
To learn more about the products available, and find the right product for you, visit our Poise products page.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek advice from a qualified health care professional with any questions regarding your concerns.
*Continence Foundation of Australia, 2015: https://www.continence.org.au/news.php/410/one-in-three-women-whove-had-a-baby-including-kate-winslet-has-incontinence.